From asking several hundred people to do the “Wakanda forever” salute at Digital Health Summer Schools to increasing their membership by more than seven-fold since their official launch, the reaction to the Shuri Network has been enormous.

This month’s Digital Health Podcast with the Shuri Network explores the need for diversity in digital health, why it’s taken so long to become a focal point and what needs to be done to encourage more women to take up IT roles in the NHS.

Founders of the network Dr Shera Chok and Sarah Amani joined the panel, along with Dr Ayesha Rahim, CCIO at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Joe McDonald, executive director of Connected Health Cities and the former chair of the Digital Health CCIO Network.

Since its official launch at the Digital Health Summer Schools in July 2019, membership of the network has skyrocketed from 60 to 445. It is the first network for black and minority ethnic (BAME) women working in digital health.

Looking at NHS boards and high-level jobs like CCIOs, CIOs and CNIOs, it’s a field largely dominated by men – that’s something the Shuri Network hopes to change by providing support, expertise and opportunities to its members.

It aims to develop a more inclusive leadership within the NHS that reflects the diversity of the workforce. Around  77% of the NHS workforce is female and 20% are of BAME background, yet there are only five female BAME CCIOs, CIOs and CNIOs in the country.

Listen below for the full panel discussion.

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