Departing NHSX digital leader hits diversity top ten

Outgoing NHSX director of digital development Dr Sam Shah has been ranked fourth in the #IB100, a list of the top 100 most influential black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) leaders in the tech sector.
By Piers Ford
06:38 AM

Outgoing NHSX director of digital development Dr Sam Shah has been ranked fourth in the #IB100, a list of the top 100 most influential BAME leaders in the tech sector. 

Dr Sam Shah, who left NHSX at the end of October after six months in the role, was previously director of digital transformation at NHS England, where he had also been clinical lead supporting the Urgent & Emergency Care Programme.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of diversity and inclusivity in technology and healthcare, Shah said he was delighted to feature in the #IB100 top ten, and wanted to reinforce the message that greater awareness of those benefits can only lead to better outcomes for providers and patients.

“One of the difficulties is the lack of opportunity for people from BAME backgrounds to develop careers in technology,” he said. “Just getting into it can be daunting. Historically, the opportunities have not been there – established groups already running so many organisations, including those in healthcare, make those circles harder to break into.”

Shah said that his board experience has convinced him that maintaining a culture of openness and understanding the value of working with a wide range of people internally and externally are essential in the quest for greater diversity.

“We need to focus on the problem and finding solutions to it, irrespective of the difficulties,” he said. “We must engage constantly in healthy debate and challenge old ideas about ways of working, about technology itself, and embrace a broad range of views.

“As a technology leader in healthcare, if you surround yourself with a very mixed team, that diversity will always generate the best ideas.”

Now in its second year, the #IB100 is part of Inclusive Boards’ Inclusive Tech Alliance campaign, which is calling on tech companies and organisations to implement working practices that fix the progression challenges for BAME individuals as they move to senior leadership positions.

In 2018, the company’s research revealed that 74.5% of boards in the tech sector had no BAME members, and that BAME people made up only 8.5% of senior leaders in the sector.

“Technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK and beyond,” said Elizabeth Oni-lyiola, development director at Inclusive Boards. “It’s crucial that as these sectors expand so too does the level of representation within them.

“Sam Shah and those featured today are ground breakers, change makers and role models within the industry, and we are proud to include them in this year’s #IB100.”

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.