Daniel Sabiiti: In England, Ethnic Minority Physiotherapists Help to Bridge the Healthcare Divide
Hi! It’s me, Spiffy the interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with the latest scoop on entrepreneurs making a difference in the world! Today we’re in London, England to talk to Daniel Sabiiti, the director of Cultural Health Club. Let’s see what he’s up to!
Spiffy: Hi Daniel, it’s great to meet you! Can you tell me what challenges you are addressing?
Daniel: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! We are working to minimize the health disparities between ethnic minorities and the rest of the general population. We aim to bridge the gap that can be found between ethnic minorities and the national healthcare system. This has and is being done through health promotion, but we also see the importance of enabling the career progression of physiotherapists—we realize we are amongst the key healthcare professionals that can bridge this unequal divide.
Spiffy: I see! What motivated you to hone in on this?
Daniel: We were initially motivated by the fact that there was a disproportionate amount of minority ethnic leaders within the healthcare system. This was furthered by the health disparities we noticed in regards to engagement within physiotherapy and the rest of the healthcare system. The Covid-19 pandemic added further fuel to our fire by highlighting just how pivotal key workers of minority ethnic backgrounds are, and how differently the pandemic was treating them.
Spiffy: Can you tell me how Cultural Health Club is working towards making the world more equitable?
Daniel: We have created a membership for physiotherapy students and professionals of ethnic minority backgrounds to develop a network to help further their careers. Secondly, we have hosted virtual talks at schools and universities and hope to expand this to churches and mosques in the near future. We have also created health promotion videos and infographics for the general public.
A Cultural Health Club director sporting the club's new t-shirts. (Image courtesy of Daniel Sabiiti)
Spiffy: Have you achieved any milestones recently? What impact does that make?
Daniel: I was recently asked to do a paid talk on inclusivity and diversity at a university. Up until that point, all of our projects had been free of charge—costing our own time. Being recognized as an asset for change and value, and know the work was and is worth the effort, was truly satisfying. In line with our website launch, we hope these funds can be used to pay members who execute the work, and also give back to the community—by paying for student’s physiotherapy courses, for example.
Spiffy: I’m notorious for asking about failure. What about you? Can you tell me about a time when you faced failure and didn't give up?
Daniel: Getting through my physiotherapy courses at university is a great example! At times the course was extremely difficult and not suited to my style of learning. At one point I had to repeat exams to pass onto the next level. I learned that persistence is key and that everyone should have mentors or a professional network around them. That’s what has pushed me to grow the Cultural Health Club. I want to prevent people of ethnic minority backgrounds from having to deal with the same issues as me.
Spiffy: I am always excited to see people pay it forward! One more question for you: what is something unexpected you’ve learned from someone recently?
Daniel: A colleague recently reminded me that you don’t need to be ready for the next step to take the next step. You simply have to believe and present yourself as if you are. This taught me that self-belief is key and supersedes doubt, which can show up in many different forms. It also reminded me that as humans we are constantly learning and growing to better ourselves and we need to truly believe in the tasks and goals that we set ourselves.
Spiffy: This is a great piece of advice, Daniel. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. It’s been an honor!
Daniel Sabiiti is a Band 5 Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and the director at Cultural Health Club. A British-born Ugandan, Daniel is working to change the experience of ethnic minorities, both from within and outside of the healthcare system. (Nominated by UncoverED)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog