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Top professors given lifetime achievement award for boosting South Asian health

By Editor
5th December 2019
Good practice

Two leading professors have been presented with prestigious awards for their work into improving the health of the South Asian community.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Wasim Hanif have both been given the South Asian Health Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award on the final day of the organisation’s two-day Annual Conference.

Both of them have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to South Asian health through cutting-edge research, which has influenced frontline diabetes care across the world.

Professor Khunti is a Professor in Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and also co-founded the Leicester Diabetes Centre, an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation, alongside Professor Melanie Davies CBE.

The Centre for BME Health, which is working to reduce ethnic health inequalities, was established by the high-ranking academic. In addition he is also Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands, a partnership of regional health services, universities and industry which turns research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.

Dedication and focus

Professor Khunti, who also works as a part-time GP in Leicester, said: “This award means a lot, not just to me personally but the wider team that have been working over 20 years dedicated to improving the lives of people with type 2 diabetes.

“Our work has not just focused on people of South Asian origin, but we have a special interest in this field and have worked hard to address health inequalities. I feel honoured to be recognised by my peers and I would like to thank all members of the Leicester Diabetes Centre and SAHF for this special award.”

Professor Hanif is a Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Consultant Physician and Clinical Service Lead in diabetes at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and is an eminent authority on diabetes, obesity, and ethnic health having worked with several national bodies and professional groups across the UK, including at parliamentary level advising the government on issues relating to those key issues.

Also a member of the Parliamentary and Stakeholder Diabetes Think Tank advising the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes, the esteemed professor, said: “I am hugely honoured to have been recognised by the South Asian Health Foundation. However, I cannot take all the credit as I would not have been able to carry out all the work I’ve done over the years, without my dedicated and committed colleagues.

“Helping to drive down the rates of type 2 diabetes within the South Asian community is a huge passion of mine. We know that people of South Asian origin are at a higher risk of developing the condition than other ethnicities, which is why we’ve been working so hard at raising awareness of the issue and educating people from the community so they can begin to make healthier lifestyle choices.”

His main research interests include; diabetic kidney disease, diabetes prevention, management of diabetes in Ramadan, obesity, ethnicity and tackling health inequalities and he was instrumental in setting up the United Kingdom Asian Diabetes Study (UKADS), which aimed to develop structured and tailored care for the needs of the Asian community.

The South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF) is a charity founded in 1999 to promote good health in the UK’s South Asian communities, becoming one of the UK’s leading British Asian health charities.

Its mission is to assist people living in the UK, particularly those of South Asian origin, who are experiencing conditions of sickness, hardship or distress in particular by supporting organisations and implementing and establishing developmental projects.

SAHF Chairman of Trustees, Professor Kiran Patel said: “As founding trustee for SAHF I would like to congratulate Professors Kamlesh Khunti and Wasim Hanif on receiving recognition for their unwavering and excellent contributions. They are worthy recipients of this prestigious SAHF Lifetime achievement award.

“Never before have we had two recipients and here it is impossible to not award them both. Their contributions to the field of ethnicity and health and their leadership of the SAHF diabetes group has been exemplary. A fantastic achievement which our patrons and trustees are proud to bestow.”

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