Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Faculty lecturer scoops prestigious leadership award

Dr Likupe (2nd left) with Faculty colleagues

Dr Gloria Likupe was awarded £12,500 by the Department of Health under the prestigious Mary Seacole Leadership Award in recognition of her work in black and ethnic minority communities. The money will fund a project entitled 'Developing a communication model for ethnic minority elders and health care workers'.

Commenting on the award Dr Likupe says:

Britain is becoming more multicultural as more people from both the old and new commonwealth and eastern European counties decide to settle in Britain. This diversity has brought new cultures and tastes that are part of the British life.

However very few people are aware of the problems that ethnic minorities face as they age in a different culture. Most do not speak English as a first language and the ethnic older person my therefore be anxious that they will lose the ability to speak English as they get older.  Some may not speak English at all and communication with health care professionals and professionals from other services may therefore present a significant problem as the minority elder may not be able to participate fully in the community to obtain the services that they need.

Mary Seacole recognised the needs of the vulnerable and offered her services to care for wounded soldiers in the Crimean war.  Her selfless motivation and determination was so strong that although she was not supported at the time due to attitudes that prevailed regarding her gender and colour, she borrowed money to make the 4,000-mile journey by herself. She distinguished herself treating battlefield wounded, often nursing wounded soldiers from both sides while under fire.

Although she was honoured in her life time along with the nurse pioneer Florence Nightingale, she was largely forgotten, but since 1994 her name is being held in esteem again thanks to the Department of Health which established awards in her honour. These awards are given to nurses who have shown a passion to promote the heath of ethnic minorities thorough various projects including research. 

Traditionally the city of Hull has not had a large population of ethnic minorities. However this situation is changing rapidly as larger numbers of ethnic minorities decide to settle in the area. Hull will therefore experience similar problems as some Southern and Midlands’ cities with large ethnic minorities.  The Department of Health has recognised this by awarding me the prestigious Mary Seacole Award to develop a communication model for black and Asian minority elders in Hull. Information will be sought from both elders and health care workers to identify communication barriers and enhancers.  Usually older people  are not asked how they would like to be cared for, it is taken for granted that care prescribed for them by care givers is adequate. My model seeks to challenge this assumption by asking older ethnic minorities what would enhance their care in terms of communication.  Those who provide care will be allowed to voice what they perceive as challenges for looking at this particular group and how these can be overcome.

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