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Dorcas Akeju OBE

I was born in Nigeria and have lived in Liverpool since 1974, and after training as a midwife at the Liverpool Maternity Hospital, I practised in both hospital and community settings for 35 years, giving choice of care, caring for mothers and babies. I have been an active campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation (Female Circumcision) and have spoken on the issue nationally and locally. In 1999, I was instrumental in the establishment of a special clinic – “The Link” – to provide antenatal care for mothers whose first language is not English. This clinic continues to have an important impact on the care of these mothers. I was the Lead for Equality and Diversity for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital for 4 years

I have also been a volunteer for over 25 years and set up initiatives such as African Elders Association to reduce isolation and depression, a trustee on several organizations, served on the Royal College of Midwives as one of the directors and now a Governor at the Liverpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Since 1990, I have been an active campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), both at the local and national level. I contributed to the establishment of the Liverpool Multi-Cultural Women’s Advisory and FGM Group, which aimed to raise awareness of health issues like breast and cervical screening amongst Black and Ethnic Minority women, and signposting and supporting victims of FGM. I chaired the Liverpool FGM Group for several years, was a member of the FGM National Group and have addressed audiences, both nationally and locally, about this issue. I continued to be involved when the Group was merged with the Forced Marriage Group, and when a new Harmful Traditional Practices Group was set up.

I won a number of awards and was named the Liverpool Black Female Achiever of 2009, received the Royal College of Midwives Life Time Achievement Award, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire by H.M. The Queen in 2003. In 2015, I was part of a group which was set up to look into Inequalities in Bowel screening amongst the BAME population in Liverpool, and the initial findings were presented at an Evidence for Change workshop. I became part of one of the first group of Public Advisers which was later referred to as Public Reference Panel.

I played different roles within the CLAHCR, I was a member of the Committee which looked at the funding for research applications. I was a member of the Training and Experience group, involved in the Partner Priority Program (PPP) events, and an Adviser on a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) project looking at the effectiveness of GP Specifications in relation to funding GPs’ practices. I was involved in the Evaluation of CLAHRC, working with the CLAHRC staff identifying some concerns by the staff and public advisers. Moving to ARC North West in 2019 gave me the opportunity to continue as a Public Adviser.

I decided to apply for the Co-Lead role because I have developed a sound knowledge working with CLAHRC/ARCNW and want to make a difference supporting the design of researches and projects. I want to be part of the Health and Care across the Life Course (HACAL) Theme, because I like its vision, from pregnancy through to end of life care. I believe having a Co-Lead on the Themes will increase Public Advisers’ (PAs) partnership with the Theme Managers and Researchers, and a better link between the PAs and Theme Managers. I was motivated to apply because I can make a difference to the Themes, supporting them in reaching out to the public and the communities and bringing different angle of suggestions when there are special areas of research or projects.

I can also bring the PAs’ points of views to the table from the beginning of developing a piece of research or a project to the end, ensuring good co-production and effective collaborative work. It is important to ensure that we are involving Public Advisers in projects and research, and facilitating more effective and succinct communication between the Theme Managers, Governance Teams, Public Advisers, the Public and communities. I will be able to play a vital role as a Champion for the Public Advisers at the Themes’ or Partners members’ meetings.

I have personal experience as an NHS employee for over 30 years, understanding the concept of being a patient with Health and Social Care needs, and knowledge of Public Participation and Involvement and Engagement. I have extensive experience in working with public and different Community groups, in-depth knowledge of equality, diversity, human rights and health equity and interest in researchers as they do support the care of patients using the evidence from them. I have good communication skills, experience in reviewing research papers, training skills and the ability to bring communities and the public together. I have good organisational and effective leadership skills.

I believe that having Co-leads on the Themes will be an advantage to all Themes as well as to the ARCNWC. It will be a developmental role for the Public Advisers, enhancing their knowledge and using their own personal experiences.

As a highly motivated person who thrives on new challenges, I would therefore welcome this opportunity on the theme to use my expertise, enthusiasm, passion, energy and time to make a meaningful contribution

Dorcas O. Akeju, OBE

M.A (Advanced Practitioner)
Bsc Honours (Clinical Management)
Institute of National Health Service Management (NVQ Level 4)
Registered Midwife
Registered Nurse


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