The Mary Seacole Awards

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The Mary Seacole Awards provide an opportunity for individuals to be recognised for their outstanding work in the black and minority ethnic (BME) community.

Mary Seacole, a Jamaican Scottish nurse and businesswoman, was a celebrated Victorian heroine due to her bravery in nursing soldiers in the Crimean War (1853–1856). The Mary Seacole Awards were created in her honour and provide the opportunity for individuals to undertake a specific health care project, educational or development activity that benefits and improves the health outcomes of people from BME communities.

The awards are funded by Health Education England and are awarded in association with Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Unison and Unite with support from NHS Employers.

Application process 

The awards open for applications annually. The application process for the 2017/2018 award year has now closed and details about the next application period will be available in December 2017. If you are are considering applying during the next award cycle you may find it useful to download the materials below.

If you have any questions about the application process or would like to find out more about the awards from a member of the steering group or a previous awardee, please contact Siobhan.smyth@rcn.org.uk or 020 7647 3631.

Announcement of the 2017/2018 awards

At the annual awards ceremony on the 23 October 2017 five new awardees were announced. Their current, cutting edge and culturally sensitive projects will impact on the healthcare outcomes for people from BAME communities. 

  • Dorcas Gwata is clinical lead at the Integrated Gangs Unit for Westminster CAMHS, Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust. Leadership award: Improving leadership in mental health interventions for adolescents from African and Middle Eastern backgrounds who are affected by gang culture (vulnerable, violent and exploited) in Westminster.
  • Bertha Ochieng is associate professor for nursing and midwifery at De Montfort University in Leicester. Leadership award: Meeting the nutritional needs of black and minority ethnic 0-5 year old children - developing an evidence-based training tool for weight management.
  • Saeideh Saeidi is service evaluation manager for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Development award: Ethnicity matters - cultural competence in mental healthcare.
  • Faye Bruce is senior lecturer and programme leader in nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Development award: Developing health literacy among Caribbean and African faith leaders and champions to influence health decision making at strategic levels.
  • Liza Mitchell is skin cancer research nurse at Barts School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London and lecturer at School of Health and Social Care London South Bank University. Development award: Raising knowledge and awareness of skin conditions and skin cancer in the Black and Ethnic Minority patient population associated with organ transplantation and other immunosuppressive conditions. 

Completion of the 2016/2017 award projects

Many of the Mary Seacole award projects and the scholars involved go on and achieve great things for BAME communities. Guests at the 2017 award ceremony were delighted to receive presentations from the 2016/2017 scholars (listed below) who have now completed their projects. The full reports from the 2016/2017 scholars will be published on this page when they are available. 

  • Dr Ada Hui, Assistant Professor in Mental Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham. Leadership award:  The Lived Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Patients within a High Security Hospital.
  • Deborah Isaac, Senior Lecturer, Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Education and Health, University of Greenwich. Leadership award: The Career Progression of British Trained BME Mental Health Nurses: Visible yet Invisible!
  • Philomene Uwamaliya, Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Allied Health, Liverpool John Moores University. Leadership award: Online Resource Hub Advancing the Rights and Well-being of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

Take a look at what the 2016/17 awardees have to say about their projects and what winning the award meant to them in this short film from the Royal College of Nursing.


For more information on the research projects, please contact siobhan.smyth@rcn.org.uk 

Further information on Mary Seacole


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