Hallam professor recognised for services to health

Sheffield Hallam University’s professor of nursing has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Abertay University for her services to healthcare.

Professor Laura Serrant became an honorary doctor of the Dundee-based institution in front of hundreds of graduating students at a ceremony held at the city’s Caird Hall yesterday (Thursday 6 July).

She was recognised for her work in improving equality and diversity within the healthcare industry.

Laura, who works in Sheffield Hallam’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, is one of only six black professors of nursing in the UK and has frequently found herself as the sole voice representing nurses and minority communities.

A Hallam nursing graduate, Laura is now chair of the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s BME Strategic Advisory group and is a 2017 Florence Nightingale Scholar.

Her research has focussed on health disparities with a particular look at sexual health in minority groups. In 2014 she received three national leadership awards from the Health Service Journal; top 50 most inspirational women in healthcare, Clinical Leader and BME Pioneer and was also awarded Fellowship of the Queens Nursing Institute in 2016.

She was also part of a campaign which led to the unveiling of the first ever statue dedicated to a named black woman, commemorating the Crimean War nurse, Mary Seacole.

“I am thrilled to receive an honorary degree from Abertay University and it was a true privilege to join hundreds of graduates on their special day,” said Laura.

“Equality and diversity within the health sector is improving but there’s more that needs to be done and I am pleased that universities like Abertay, together with Sheffield Hallam, share the same values and level of commitment to achieve this.”

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, said the honorary graduates had been chosen for excellence in their respective fields.

He added: “Through their outstanding achievements, and by their personal qualities, our honorary graduates represent the values of Abertay University, and are hugely inspiring role models to our students.”