Professor Mala Rao
Professor in Public Health, Imperial College London
Professor Mala Rao CBE MSc MBBS FFPH PhD HonFFSRH HonFSoPHE HonFRCPCH is Director of the Ethnicity and Health Unit at Imperial College London and former Medical Adviser to NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy. She has recently been appointed a Clinical Adviser on race equality by the GMC. She is also chair of the Expert group on the Environmental Determinants of Climate change and Health, WHO South East Asia Region. Her career has spanned public health practice, policy and research in the UK and global arenas. Her most significant achievements have been in workforce development, health systems strengthening and environmental health. She is a recognised champion of climate action, safe water and sanitation and gender equity and globally respected for her research and advocacy on race equality and the intersection between race, health and climate.
In 2014, a review which she lead influenced parliamentarians to establish the NHS Workforce Race Equality Strategic Advisory Group of which she was Vice-Chair during 2016 - 2018. She co-guest edited the February 2020 British Medical Journal’s special issue on Racism in Medicine which won a prestigious UK Professional Publishers Award (PPA) in 2021 and influenced the launch of the NHS Race and Health Observatory. In 2021, she lead the development of the Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard, a ‘world first’ in monitoring racism and discrimination across the medical workforce. In 2022, she launched the first comprehensive guide to induction for international medical graduates recruited to the NHS.
She is the recipient of awards, including an OBE in the Queen’s Honours in 2013, the Alwyn Smith prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for public health, in 2021 and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2022. She was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list of 2024, for services to Public Health, the NHS and to Equality and Diversity.