Ethnicity and Health Unit

We exist to apply an evidence-based approach to addressing health inequality

Why is it important?

Health inequality is a complex and pressing public health challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into even sharper focus the health inequalities affecting the UK’s ethnic minority communities. These issues existed previously but the pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted them. A similar story emerges around common health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Much more evidence is required to fully understand and address these inequalities. We employ the best research design and methodology to enhance the scientific evidence which can inform policy, practice, and decision-making for a more equal world.

What do we hope to achieve?

  • To convene a community of researchers focused on understanding health issues relevant to ethnic minority communities.

  • To create opportunities for ethnically diverse individuals to progress in academia and education through scholarships and mentoring.

  • To produce data and intelligence to enhance the evidence base on health inequalities in ethnic minority communities.

  • To support policy, practice and strategy which would enable equity in health and healthcare across ethnic minority communities.

What is the benefit?

  • Reduce variation in quality of care received

  • Improve access to the NHS services

  • Improve care experience, quality of life

  • Promote equality

Ethnicity and Health Unit News

Key Projects

International Medical Graduates NHS Induction Programme

Why an induction programme has been developed for IMGs?

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) play an increasingly important role in effective healthcare delivery in the NHS. Their transition to living and working in the UK is recognised to be challenging, with IMGs likely to face difficulties with communication, culture, and ways of working in unfamiliar environments.

Despite numerous reports highlighting the risks this poses in terms of referrals for fitness to practice, disillusionment, and importantly, patient safety, little has been done in the past, to develop a standardised comprehensive induction programme for IMGs with the aim of rapidly ensuring their integration into life in the UK and working in the NHS. The scale of the problem was assessed by a working group established by the Medical Adviser to NHSE’s WRES Advisory Group (Prof. M Rao), by means of a study of the views and perspectives of IMGs recently recruited by the NHS and by reviewing existing induction programmes.

How was the induction programme written?

The induction draft was written by a Development Group, led by Professor Mala Rao and Andy Beckingham, and a final version is being written and edited by those with experience of supporting and being IMGs and other senior leaders from NHSEI, HEE, GMC, BMA and MPS.

The guidance sets the minimum standards for Trusts delivering induction and helps IMGs to better understand what should be provided to them. An evaluation of the draft induction programme is ongoing across six pilot Trusts to assess the impact to ensure it meets the needs of IMGs and determine the cost of delivering the induction.

The IMG induction programme launch

This induction programme has been in development since 2019 and is ready to be rolled out across NHS Trusts from 27 June 2022. Trusts are likely to vary in the quality of inductions they provide. From the launch date, Trusts will be expected to formulate a plan for achieving and delivering all aspects of the induction recommended in the guidance.

Where can I access the IMG induction programme?

Health Education England have developed an eLearning module to on their e-LfH platform which can be accessed here:

Watch the webinar '
Welcoming and Valuing International Medical Graduates' that launched the induction programme here:

You can view the induction programme here:

Welcoming and Valuing International Medical Graduates - A guide to induction for IMGs WEB.pdf

Download a print version of the document from here.

Publications and Relevant Documents

  1. Ethnicity and Health, Postnote, Parliamentary Office Science and Technology, UK Parliament:

  1. Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard (MWRES) WRES indicators for the medical workforce 2020:

  1. London Workforce Race Strategy Race equality. A better NHS for us all. Executive Summary:

  1. Now is the time for radical action on racial health inequalities:

  1. Equality and diversity in health governance systems: are we getting it right and are there lessons from COVID-19?

  1. Re-thinking the inclusion of race in British hypertension guidance:

  1. Now is the time for radical action on racial health inequalities:

  1. Tackling racism in UK health research:

  1. Racial and ethnic health disparities in healthcare settings:

  1. Playing hide and seek with structural racism:

  1. 'We weren't checked in on, nobody spoke to us': An exploratory qualitative analysis of two focus groups on the concerns of ethnic minority NHS staff during COVID-19:

  1. Bereavement care for ethnic minority communities: A systematic review of access to, models of, outcomes from, and satisfaction with, service provision:

External Links