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ARC EM Director given lifetime achievement award for efforts to boost South Asian health

The Director of ARC East Midlands has been presented with a prestigious award for his work to improve the health of the South Asian community. 

Professor Kamlesh Khunti was awarded the South Asian Health Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, November 29, on the final day of the organisation’s two-day Annual Conference.

The accolade was in recognition of Professor Khunti’s outstanding contribution to South Asian health through cutting-edge research, which has influenced frontline diabetes care across the world.

Professor Khunti is a Professor in Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and also co-founded the Leicester Diabetes Centre, an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation, alongside Professor Melanie Davies CBE. Based at Leicester General Hospital, the centre is a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals and the university.

The Centre for BME Health, which is working to reduce ethnic health inequalities, was also established by the high-ranking academic.

He is also the Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands, a partnership of regional health services, universities and industry which turns research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.

Professor Khunti, who also works as a part-time GP in Leicester, said: “This award means a lot, not just to me personally but the wider team that have been working over 20 years dedicated to improving the lives of people with type 2 diabetes. 

“Our work has not just focused on people of South Asian origin, but we have a special interest in this field and have worked hard to address health inequalities. I feel honoured to be recognised by my peers and I would like to thank all members of the Leicester Diabetes Centre and SAHF for this special award.”

The South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF) is a charity founded in 1999 to promote good health in the UK’s South Asian communities, becoming one of the UK’s leading British Asian health charities. 

Its mission is to assist people living in the UK, particularly those of South Asian origin, who are experiencing conditions of sickness, hardship or distress in particular by supporting organisations and implementing and establishing developmental projects.

The award was presented at SAHF’s 20th annual event, with Professor Khunti delivering a presentation called ‘Journey of a Slum Dog Researcher’. It charted his rise from his childhood having been born in the slums of Africa, living in a crammed rented two-bedroom terrace house in inner city Leicester to an internationally renowned researcher and global speaker on the subject of type 2 diabetes.

Professor Wasim Hanif, who is a Professor of Diabetes & Endocrinology, Consultant Physician and Head of Service in diabetes at University Hospital Birmingham, was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award.

SAHF Chairman of Trustees, Professor Kiran Patel said: “As founding trustee for SAHF I would like to congratulate Professors Kamlesh Khunti and Wasim Hanif on receiving recognition for their unwavering and excellent contributions. They are worthy recipients of this prestigious SAHF Lifetime achievement award. 

“Never before have we had two recipients and here it is impossible to not award them both. Their contributions to the field of ethnicity and health and their leadership of the SAHF diabetes group has been exemplary. A fantastic achievement which our patrons and trustees are proud to bestow.”

Published on: 17 Dec 2019