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Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage Forum (REACH Forum)

The Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Forum brings together all our staff and students to meet and help promote diversity and drive greater equality in our workplaces.

Jointly run by The Institute of Cancer Research, London and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the forum brings together all our staff and students to meet with other colleagues, learn about each other's experiences, and provides a space to discuss issues and push for initiatives that can help promote diversity and drive greater equality in our workplaces.

BAME forum group

Our forum is working closely with colleagues across the ICR to drive progress on our organisational action plan, Race Equality: Beyond the Statements. The plan sets out actions and commitments to address the under-representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff in leadership roles and in research careers within the ICR.

The action plan sets out the steps the ICR will take to create an environment where all can thrive, by opening up conversations about race across all aspects of working and studying here, and seeking to understand and address challenges faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students.

Our forum meets regularly, both through informal monthly ‘lunch and chats’, and through our formal quarterly Forum meetings which we use to progress initiatives that support equality and diversity in the workplace.

We also run a seminar series, where we invite both internal and external speakers to share their career insights and experiences with colleagues.

Recent speakers have included Cherron Inko-Tariah, who runs the Power of Staff networks, Professor Udai Banerji, Deputy Director of the Drug Development Unit at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, Yvonne Coghill, Director for the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard and Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham. We hosted the UK's first all-black female cancer portrait exhibition: Black Women Rising – The Untold Cancer Stories, and Solon Attoh and Tenee Attoh – who lead the Mixedracefaces platform, showcasing people with mixed heritages from around the world. 

We also hold regular social events to bring staff together across the whole of our two organisations. To find out more about the forum, please get in touch with our Forum Co-Chairs at [email protected].

Nafia Guljar, The Institute of Cancer Research Co-Chair

Nafia-GuljarNafia is a Higher Scientific Officer in Dr Paul Huang's team in Molecular Pathology, working to understand how networks of signalling-proteins control tumour progression and drug resistance in cancer. She is the Social Media Rep in the Scientific Officers Association, has been a member of the Forum and was nominated as a Covid Hero for speaking out about structural racism and the disproportionate toll of Covid on ethnic communities.

Dr Michael Ranes, The Institute of Cancer Research Co-Chair

Michael-Ranes-Michael_Ranes-500x500Michael is a Postdoctoral Training Fellow in Dr Sebastian Guettler's team in Structural Biology of Cell Signalling, working on understanding how the poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase tankyrase regulates the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway. He was previously Deputy Co-Chair of the Forum, is a member of the BAME mens' group and the Race Equality: Beyond the Statements project board, and has conducted outreach to schools to inspire the next generation of diverse researchers.

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