New Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion appointed

Dr Cerisse Gunasinghe

Dr Cerisse Gunasinghe has been appointed as the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre’s new Champion for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.

Cerisse is a postdoctoral researcher and Counselling Psychologist in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London. She joined King’s in 2002 as a placement student and began working as a researcher in 2004.

Tackling inequalities in healthcare and research

Her research focuses on the impact of societal and cultural practices on individual experiences, reducing barriers to social and psychological support, and educating community populations to help early identification and treatment of mental and physical health difficulties.

She said: “During the 13 years of working within the NIHR Maudsley BRC, particularly under the supervision of Professor Stephani Hatch, I have come to recognise the importance of thinking in an intersectional way when addressing inequality in the workplace and in our work.  A number of social and political events, as well as the pandemic have shone a light on, and exacerbated, existing inequalities. Therefore, collective action is needed now to minimise the adverse consequences for those most at risk.

“I would like to thank the BRC for this opportunity. One of my priorities is to highlight our existing inclusive practices across the BRC and I hope that together with colleagues, we can embrace diversity and make meaningful changes to improve how we work. I would also like to explore how we can better serve the needs of local communities that breakthrough biases to ensure equity and equality for those who are underrepresented and marginalised.”

Within her role, Cerisse will support the mainstreaming of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the BRC and act as an advocate for positive change. This includes helping to promote and lead diversity and inclusion events, representing the BRC at relevant local and national meetings and ensuring that sensitive staff information is managed in accordance with legal requirements and current Data Protection Legislation.

Patient and public involvement activities

Cerisse is project co-ordinator for the BRC-supported HYPE (improving the Health of Young PeoplE) Project. This is a web-based research and resource platform for young adults (aged 16 years and over) that will facilitate young people’s involvement in research, assess current social, economic and health experiences of young people and improve access to online and community-based social and health-related resources.

She is also a co-lead of the Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON), a public engagement network that promotes collaborative community approaches to knowledge dissemination, action and youth outreach.

Cerisse together with the HERON team have delivered several public engagement activities and facilitated service-user and public involvement in research advisory committees. These include the IoPPN Youth Awards, the Research Methods in School Education (RISE) workshops and the Soothsayers music workshops.

In addition, she has supported the implementation and evaluation of creative arts and physical activity programmes for service-users and carers. In 2019, Cerisse was shortlisted for a King’s Award for Most Significant Commitment to Widening Participation or Social Mobility.

Read more about Cerisse on the King’s website.

Tags: Staff News -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 29 Mar 2022, 19:01 PM

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