See ME First initiative celebrates its second anniversary with a bright future ahead

See ME First initiative celebrates its second anniversary with a bright future ahead

25 Oct 2022

The Whittington Health NHS Trust initiative promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity celebrates another year of success.

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Staff at Whittington Health NHS Trust are celebrating the second anniversary of their staff-led initiative, See ME First.    

Since its inception two years ago, over 1,800 staff members at the Trust have made a pledge to not judge a person by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character, a quote attributed to Dr Martin Luther King Jrn. in his 1963 speech, ‘I Have a Dream’.

Staff are given a See ME First lanyard and badge to wear to show their support and to encourage conversations with colleagues and patients around equity, diversity and inclusivity.

“We need to have difficult conversations and dialogue in order for things in the workplace to change,” says co-founder, Delia Mills.

“See ME First starts those conversations and helps informs action and change. That’s an important message for us echoed with this year’s Black History month, themed around ‘time for change – action not words’.

See ME First founders Paul Attwal, Delia Mills and Beverleigh Senior first launched the initiative in 2020 during Black History Month in response to an independent review proactively commissioned by the Trust that identified issues around workplace bullying, discrimination and racism.

"If I walk into a room, the first thing you see is the colour of my skin, and often that is when the first judgement is made,” says co-founder, Beverleigh Senior.

“People don’t know me, but they have already judged me as a Black woman. See ME First is about getting to know me, seeing me as a person first, and seeing the content of my character.”

Since 2020, the campaign has moved from strength to strength, winning a series of awards including the ‘Improving Health Equity Award’ at the national NHS Improvement Awards.
Twenty two other NHS organisations have also adopted the initiative, and the team hope to see it spread further across the nation and into non-NHS organisations.

“NHS organisations far afield as Birmingham, Lincolnshire and Kent are getting the message of See ME First across,” says co-founder Paul Attwal.

“It is not just London-centric, it’s not just an NHS thing, it is for everybody.”

“The work of our See Me First team has taken great strides since their launch in 2020,” says Whittington Health NHS Trust Chief Executive officer, Helen Brown.

“We’re so proud of the work they have done to help celebrate the diversity of our staff and our communities.”


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