Innovations: The effective use of evidence to reduce health inequalities

Funded by Department of Health, 2009–2012

Contact Jabeer Butt

What are the aims of the project?

Evidence from our Better Health briefing papers shows that people from black and minority ethnic groups may have poorer health care experiences, highlighting issues including:

  • limited choice in health
  • fewer resources and poorer quality services
  • greater dissatisfaction with access to and appropriateness of services
  • poor communication with health professionals.

See the Better Health briefing collection (external website)

Additional evidence suggests that despite awareness of these problems, practitioners struggle with implementing change to reduce health inequalities.

This 3-year programme aims to reduce health inequalities by engaging frontline public health personnel in evidence-based learning. This will have positive outcomes for service users, staff and commissioners.

Service users will have:

  • Increased confidence in health services
  • Increased belief in the cultural competence of health service providers
  • Increased knowledge of ways to access services, reduce risk and improve their quality of life.

Frontline staff will have

  • Increased knowledge of ethnic: inequalities in health
  • Increased confidence in working with people different from themselves
  • Increased engagement with black and minority ethnic communities.

Commissioners will have:

  • A measurable way to show commitment to reducing health inequalities
  • Practical steps to embed equalities into commissioning
  • Opportunities to define and develop leadership in terms of reducing health inequalities
  • A forum to discuss partnership development and provider relationships with organisations that serve the needs of black and minority ethnic communities.

How will these aims be fulfilled?

We are designing, developing and testing a number of learning packages which support practitioners to understand and use effective everyday practice to reduce race inequalities in outreach and prevention. The packages will provide evidence, enabling practitioners to maximise use of the Better Health briefing papers and other research relating to ethnic health inequalities.

The learning packages will be delivered to health professionals across the UK, practising at all levels. Key priority regions include the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and the South of England.

The packages focus on a range of topics including evidence, engagement and ethnic monitoring.

What have we produced?

Project officers will deliver a range of learning packages, designed to help frontline health practitioners reduce health inequalities for black and minority ethnic communities.

All learning programmes build on the evidence-based Better Health briefing papers, providing good practice examples and signposting to useful resources in the field. By using this evidence to inform policy and practice, health practitioners can embed the promotion of race equality in their everyday work.

Ethnic monitoring: Demanding data

Why is ethnic monitoring so important? Why do we need data? What is it used for? This learning package helps health practitioners to embed better practice into their work through ethnic monitoring, emphasising the value of data collection and its importance for the promotion of race equality.


This learning package aims to provide delegates with:

  • a better understanding of the need for data collection and the connection between ethnic monitoring and progressive service delivery
  • a critical understanding of the use of data in health care settings to improve health outcomes for black and minority ethnic users and communities.

Ethnic monitoring: Demanding data

This learning package introduces participants to evidence relating to black and minority ethnic communities and their health. It will help participants to examine the causes of inequality and seek better practice which will help them to embed race equality in their day-to-day work.


This learning package aims to provide delegates with the ability to:

  • critically engage with evidence on ethnic inequalities
  • use this evidence to implement better practice and improve health outcomes for black and minority ethnic service users and communities.

Black and minority ethnic health inequalities: Engagement

This learning package introduces health professionals to methods and approaches for engagement with black and minority ethnic service users. It encourages sensitive consultation with black and minority ethnic service users, enabling better communication and service delivery.


This learning package will facilitate dialogue on methods to:

  • improve health outcomes for black and minority ethnic service users and communities
  • engage black and minority ethnic communities from a national and local perspective
  • overcome and remove barriers to effective consultation, engagement and participation
  • ensure effective community engagement at all levels.

Learning style

The course trainers will:

  • deliver interactive workshops that encourage participation
  • use a range of learning methods to help practitioners embed better practice
  • build on participants’ existing skills and experience
  • provide opportunities for participants to develop an individual action plan
  • provide resources/tools and using signposting to continue learning.

These packages will be delivered in locations across the UK during spring 2011.