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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Partnership for Black People's Health


Partnership For Black People’s Health is a community-led research project that engages Black African and Black Caribbean communities in research to reduce the widely recognised disproportionate burden of health inequalities they face in all areas of medicine and public health. The project is part of a wider effort to address the systemic racism/issues that contribute to health inequalities in Black communities. By working with communities to develop and implement research, the project is helping to create a more equitable healthcare system for all.

Many of the interventions designed to improve the health of Black people fail to reach them. This is due to various factors, but most notably:

  1. Lack of effective involvement of Black people in the development of healthcare, research, and public health plans;
  2. Fewer Black people from Black communities being employed in research institutions, and
  3. Less power over how research evidence is collected from Black people and hot it is used.

It is well-established that health inequalities can be best addressed by involving Black people, who bear the burden of poorer health access and outcomes in society. Interventions are most effective when they are co-produced with the communities they are targeted at.

Therefore, this project aims to strengthen an existing, diverse network of clinicians, community organisations, academics and members of the public in order to explore methods for strengthening existing and developing new ways of partnering to involve Black people. This will be done through events led by involvement leads that are tailored to different groups, such as young people, people living with specific health conditions, recent migrants, and others. What we learn from this will then be used to co-produce applications for funding for further research and interventions to address health inequalities. These applications will be developed in partnership with members of the partnership, and new members.

The project is funded by NIHR under the Programme Development Grants - Developing Innovative, Inclusive and Diverse Public Partnerships stream.

Logo reading Funded by NIHR National Institute for Health and Care Research




Dr Sara Paparini is leading the overall management of this project from host organisation Barts Health NHS Trust, where she holds an honorary contract. She is a member of Queen Mary University of London, where she brings academic expertise in the study of public health, infectious diseases and health inequalities, She is also the social science lead at the SHARE collaborative at QMUL and Barts Health NHS Trust, which is dedicated to achieving equity through a transdisciplinary programme of work overseen by a community advisory board of lived experience experts.

Project coordinators

Phil Samba is one of the project coordinators of this project. He’s a social activist, writer and researcher at The Love Tank, a not-for-profit community interest community that promotes health and wellbeing of underserved communities through education, capacity building and research. He specialises in HIV, sexual health and mental health with a focus on health inequalities of people of colour, particularly Black queer men.

Vimbai Mandaza is one of the project coordinators of this project. She’s a passionate advocate dedicated to advancing health equity, social justice, and decolonising healthcare. Her expertise lies in women’s health and sexual and reproductive health[care] and justice. Rooted in personal experiences, her ambition for Black People's Health is driven by a commitment to facilitating a better future for generations to come. She works for Positively UK, an organisation aiming to protect the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV.

Evidence synthesis and theoretical guidance

Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan is a consultant in sexual health and HIV medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, an honorary senior lecturer at the Queen Mary University of London and a member of SHARE Collaborative. She’s nationally recognised for her expertise on health inequalities and in championing the needs of racially minoritised women in sexual health. She will support the conceptual development of tools and materials used in the project and collaborate to build a theoretical framework for the interpretation and synthesis of lessons from the project activities.

Research methods

Megan Clinch is the public advisory panel lead at the Wolfson’s Institute of Population Health at Queen Mary University of London, working with colleagues and stakeholders to co-design a strategy for research and teaching that aims to tackle health inequalities across East London. She brings expertise on methodologies and equitable production of public health knowledge, including working with arts practitioners and members of the public to co-produce knowledge to address public health challenges. Clinch will support the review and development of involvement methods to be used during involvement activities where relevant. Clinch will also collaborate on analysis, preparation of outputs, and support grant development and writing.

Rebecca Mbewe works as a Research Assistant with the SHARE collaborative at Queen Mary’s University London. She has a wealth of community engagement experience which she has gained form having been involved in HIV work for over 25 years much of which has been influenced by her lived experience.  Some of her professional engagements include training, speaking and mentoring. She is an active member of the UK Community Advisory Board (UKCAB) and sits on the British HIV Association (BHIVA) Audit and Standards sub-committee group as a community representative. Rebecca is also one of 3 directors of 4M Mentor Mothers Network CIC (, an organisation offering mentoring, support and training for women living with HIV going through the perinatal journey. Rebecca has more recently co-authored a book ‘Our Stories told by Us’ exploring the African contribution to the UK HIV response. Rebecca’s particular interests are sexual health and health and wellbeing of black women.

Rosalie Hayes is a qualitative health researcher within the SHARE (Sexual Health and HIV All East Research) Collaborative, based at Queen Mary University of London. Before making the transition to academia, she worked on HIV policy and campaigns for the National AIDS Trust. Hayes will support the partners’ evaluation of the partnership and engagement activities, drawing on her previous experience of co-designing monitoring and evaluation frameworks with community-based organisations.

Dr Janelle Jones is a senior lecturer in social psychology. Her behavioural science expertise will ensure we consider the role of identity and group membership in shaping experiences of healthcare and treatment. Jones will input on the approach to public involvement and help maintain a coherent thread in relation to behavioural science in the planning, analysis and writing of the materials used and gathered during involvement activities. Jones will additionally support grant development in the latter part of the project.

Shiraaz Sidat has previously worked in HIV/Sexual Health promotion as well as supporting clients on a one-to-one basis. He completed his MSc in Health Psychology at the University College London in 2021. Since, then, he has worked in HIV research both in the community and in academia. He is also a trustee for an online Peer Support charity. Sidat brings experience of research methods and peer research, essential to support and synthesis our learning from the community of practice. Sidat will join the community of practice as an independent collaborator.

Involvement Leads

Dr. Vanessa Apea is a consultant physician in Genito-urinary and HIV medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust  and an Honorary Senior Lecturer and member of SHARE collaborative at QMUL. She is also the deputy academic lead for equality, diversity and inclusion within QMUL’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. She has an established track record of exploring barriers to engagement in care in marginalised populations and has a particular research interest in participatory approaches and the intersection of race, gender and health. She is the principal investigator for the ALIVE study and the lead of the Black Women’s Wellness project.

Dr. Claudine Best is a counselling psychologist with extensive experience of working in the NHS and third sector setting(s) with specialist knowledge of psychopathology in sexual health settings. She is a co-author and co-presenter of both reflective practice sessions in NHS settings and training seminars on race in the workplace to private sector organisations. She has lnworked extensively with clients living with HIV, struggling with compulsive sexual behaviour as well as psychosexual difficulties for over 18 years.

Shardia Briscoe-Palmer is a qualitative researcher at the University of Nottingham with a specific focus on Black masculinities across a spectrum of sexualities, bringing academic expertise regarding race, gender and socio-political (in)justice. Briscoe-Palmer brings further expertise on community engagement in research, having recently completed a project on the Black Voices on Contraception Choices as an extension of previous research on Black Sexual Politics, using creative and digital methods to provide a community-focused understanding of and engagement with sexual health services.

Farah Dualeh works with the Women’s Inclusive Team, a grassroots community organisation supporting Black and Ethnic minority communities in Tower Hamlets. Through a range of initiatives including youth programmes, women’s empowerment projects, and mental health assistance integrated with their food bank and community kitchen, they champion holistic well-being. Additionally, Women’s Inclusive Team provides crucial counsel and guidance to Black and minority ethnic women on housing, child rearing, running a household, community integration and learning English. Moreover, the organisation delivers mental health training to professionals and frontline staff in Tower Hamlets, to ensure they understand the multi-faceted and complex needs of racially minoritised communities.

Bakita Kasadha is a multi-award-winning poet, health researcher, and adept health writer; currently holding a research role at the University of Oxford. Kasadha’s written contributions span an impressive spectrum, including publications in the British Journal of Healthcare Management, Glamour, Metro, Black Ballad, and Gal-dem. Beyond her literary achievements,Kasadha’s experience shines through her pivotal roles as a founding member of Viiv Healthcare’s Positive Action Strategic Advisory Committee and as a dedicated member of the Sexual Health and HIV All East (SHARE) Collaborative Community Advisory Board.

Mimi Mzari is the HIV project lead at Doctors of the World UK, a charity which runs clinic and advocacy initiatives within London. These programs extend necessary medical care, information and practical support to marginalised individuals, including destitute migrants, sex workers, and those with no fixed residence. Through dedicated efforts, Mzari spearheads endeavours to enhance HIV testing availability and knowledge dissemination for migrants and refugees, a demographic frequently marginalised from healthcare due to the hostile environment.

Silvia Petretti is the CEO of Positively UK, an empowering peer-led community organisation dedicated to providing tailored peer support, promoting positive attitudes and equitable access to health for individuals living with HIV. They believe that people living with HIV are best placed to advocate for their own needs. Working in partnership with the NHS, Positively Uks peer work is integrated at 12 clinics across London and further run a range of peer-led support groups for women, heterosexual men and women and gay men.

Mark Santos is the CEO of Positive East, an East London HIV Charity now in its third decade of working to improve the quality of life (economic, social, physical and psychological) for individuals and communities affected by HIV. The Charity is committed to the involvement of people living with HIV in all aspects of our work ensuring services are designed and delivered in a culturally acceptable and appropriate manner with target communities.

Winnie Ssanyu-Sseruma is an international development consultant based in London, with extensive experience working in the field of HIV & AIDs, social justice, and women’s leadership. Winnie's work includes facilitating health trainings, conducting community research, evaluating programs, and providing technical assistance. She has also initiated several initiatives, including FFENA, a community group for African people living with HIV, which advocates to reverse policies that negatively impact the lives of HIV positive individuals, at the Policy level. In addition to the BHAMEN network, which works to extend learning from HIV advocacy to other health conditions to improve the health of people of Black African and Caribbean heritage.

Stafford Scott is a community activist and race equality specialist with over 30 years of experience in anti-racist advocacy work. He is a guest professor of Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London. In 2020, he was named as one of “100 great Black Britons” for his contributions to activism and race relations in the UK. Currently he works at Tottenham Rights.

Marc Thompson is a health promoter, co-director and founder of The Love Tank, a not-for-profit community interest charity that promotes health and wellbeing of underserved communities through education, capacity building and research. Recently, The Love Tank has completed a project Black Health Matters with lived experience experts from Black communities. Thompson has over 30 years’ experience working in social justice and movements concerning Black people’s health.

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