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Kumbi Kariwo’s Trojan Mouse Award

Kumbi Kariwo, BCHC’s equality and inclusion project lead, has received national recognition for her work to address skin tone bias in wound care, and specifically the poor early identification of pressure ulcers in darker skin tones.

The Trojan Mouse Award, which Kumbi received in the Healthcare Excellence Through Technology ‘Unexpected Innovations’ awards, recognises ‘an individual who has made impactful and meaningful changes through a steady and incremental approach to digital transformation’.

Kumbi said: “The pandemic shone a light on health inequalities, particularly for those that are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and I was determined to make a difference. My goal was to improve patient experience, reduce health inequalities, support staff development, and improve the management of pressure ulcers.”

A pressure ulcer is skin and tissue damage caused by continuous pressure over time (e.g. prolonged bed rest), and which causes pain, damaged muscles or bones, and leads to a lengthy healing process with considerable cost to the NHS (estimated in the range of £3.8 million per day).

Kumbi created a true understanding of the current challenges and identified the need for improved prevention, and earlier identification and detection of Stage 1 & 2 pressure ulcer damage in darker skin tones. Early detection of pressure ulcers will benefit patients by allowing improved quality of life through early intervention, preventive work, and better continuity of care.

In receiving the award Kumbi acknowledged collaborative work and support from many colleagues across BCHC.

She added: “A special thank you goes to Nazneen Bagdadi and Hamid Zolfagharinia of the research and innovation team, and the District Nursing teams in west Birmingham that were happy for me to shadow and work alongside them. They helped me to truly understand the nature of the problem and the solution needed.”

Richard Kirby, BCHC chief executive, said: “Congratulations to Kumbi on this superb recognition, and for the difference her work is making for patients. Thanks also to everyone involved in supporting this impactful initiative, and helping make a difference in our objective to reduce health inequalities. It is great to see how our expertise can be harnessed to create real and innovative improvements for the people we serve.”

The HETT Unexpected Innovation Awards celebrate the very best in experimental design, collaboration, and leadership in digital healthcare. They showcase champions of digital health innovation and highlight great stories of transformation witnessed in the past year. The awards are designed to bring together the health and care ecosystem, to hear best practice examples that inspire more to do the same.