Three months ago, we set out our plan to make Health Data Research UK a more diverse and inclusive place to work and to do research, through publishing our first Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Our objectives are ambitious. Reaching our potential in making discoveries that improve people’s lives using health data requires an inclusive community, a diverse workforce, and data representing all segments of society, diseases and conditions.

I am pleased to say that we are making early progress.  We have formally incorporated ethnicity as a measure of data quality on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway. We have made changes to our recruitment process to reduce unconscious bias. We have become members of Inclusive Employers who are advising us on our upcoming recruitment to diversify our non-Executive Board.  And we have set up a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that advises us and holds us to account.

As this week is Inclusive Employers’ ‘national inclusion week’, we are celebrating the importance of diverse data, people and perspectives – all key elements in our policy – and highlighting successes and opportunities across our community.  We will be sharing stories and insights from our colleagues and partners though blog posts, social media, and press releases under the theme “we’re all in this together.” And at the end of the week we will be hosting a free public webinar, open to anyone, to discuss the importance of including all groups in society in health data research to tackle COVID-19.

We know we can work harder to involve people from more diverse communities in our research projects and so today we are launching HDR UK Voices, a brand new network for people who want to use their voice to influence and shape our work.

But we are not resting on our laurels and know that we have a long journey ahead of us. We would love to hear from you if you have any feedback or suggestions.  Please do join in the conversation this week by following us on Twitter using #healthdatatogether.  You can also sign up to our monthly newsletter HIVE to receive our news and updates.