BAPIO Institute for Health Research Chair honoured in the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Awards

Professor Indranil Chakravorty MBE MBBS PhD FRCP

 

Ramesh Mehta OBE, President of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) said, '

'I am so proud of Professor Chakravorty's enormous contribution to the National Health Service, to medical education and BAPIO's cause for equality and justice through the BAPIO Institute for Health Research, the Bridging the Gap project in tackling differential attainment and his contribution to our academic journals'.

Indranil Chakravorty’s life’s work has always reflected his firm belief in humanity and justice. His 25-year career as an NHS respiratory and acute physician not only resulted in saving countless lives, but his care and compassion has earned him unwavering respect from his patients and colleagues alike. Professsor Chakravorty has always been deeply interested in medical education, right from his early days as a medical student in the second oldest medical college to teach Western medicine in Asia, The Calcutta Medical College. Since then, every ward round and every patient interaction has been an opportunity to teach and more importantly, to learn from his patients.

Indranil’s sense of justice led to the observation of how non-white doctors and international medical graduates working in the NHS experienced exam failures at the MRCP examination. By working closely with the Royal College of Physicians, and by organising chairing, and leading countless MRCP examinations both at his own hospital and many international centres, he brought a culturally sensitive approach to the exams without ever compromising the highest standards befitting the College its international reputation. This has no doubt benefitted the careers of many candidates the world over. RCP London awarded him the President's Medal in 2018 for his contribution to the assessment of doctors.

The COVID19 pandemic brought home social injustices and health inequalities like none other. Professor Chakravorty felt deeply moved by the disproportionate share of deaths in the UK among patients and healthcare workers from minority ethnic backgrounds. Through the establishment of the BAPIO Institute of Health Research (BIHR), where Professor Chakravorty is the founding chairman, he has tirelessly worked to generate original research into such disparities. As Editor-in-Chief of the two BAPIO journals, The Physician, and the Sushruta Journal of Health Policy, Professor Chakravorty has published, through peer review, original research and opinion pertaining to health inequalities and social justice.

Professor Chakravorty’s most remarkable work since the pandemic has been the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project which he conceived and led with remarkable resilience and energy. The project was built on the urgent need to address the deep inequalities faced by doctors in the UK who are either international medical graduates, belong to non-white heritage, have other protected characteristics or are from socio-economically disadvantageous backgrounds leading to overwhelming and persistent experience of differential attainment (DA) in their careers compared to their white counterparts. Every aspect of a doctor’s career in the UK, from recruitment to assessments, to career progression in the NHS and academia, to unfair treatment in disciplinary matters are fraught with challenges that have little bearing with their competence as doctors but reflect wider systemic biases. Through the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, Professor Chakravorty led an objective, rigorous, academic, and collaborative approach to tackling DA for the medical profession. Through his remarkable leadership, this project brought together international experts, the regulator, healthcare organisations, higher educational institutions and grassroots individuals together to develop a consensus and disruptive strategy to bring about justice in the workplace for doctors.

Professor Chakravorty and the BIHR team approached the Bridging the Gap project with academic rigour, and several steps constituted the development of the final consensus document. This included ‘thematic syntheses’ of six broad aspect of medical careers- namely recruitment, assessment, professionalism, leadership, academia and career progression, which led to identification of the impact of DA in every stage of the career cycle of the medical professional and was published as a series of reviews in Sushruta Journal of Health Policy. This was followed by qualitative research including questionnaire and focussed interviews. Finally, six workshops with 150 participants that included a wide range of stakeholders, experts and grassroots workers provided experiential and personal views on DA in the medical profession. Professor Chakravorty’s work in harnessing a wide range of interests and opinions and leading the authorship of the report has been exemplary. It is hoped that this work will lead to significant changes in the lives of doctors who dedicate their best years to the UK NHS and pave the way to further research in the ongoing strive to abolish DA.

BAPIO executive and its members are proud of Professor Chakravorty’s enormous contribution in the field of healthcare justice being recognised in the Queen's Platinum Jubilee honours. Professor Chakravorty is a Consultant Physician at St George's University Hospital, London and Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Life & Medical Sciences at University of Hertfordshire. His wife Subarna is a Paediatric Haematologist at Kings College London and his older daughter qualifies in medicine from the Queen's College, University of Oxford.

 

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