Queen awards CBE to daughter of Saint Lucian Windrush passenger

By SNO Staff

Marie Gabriel

(SNO) – A British woman with Saint Lucian roots, who is dedicated to promoting equality as a healthcare leader, has received an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

She is Marie Gabriel, head of the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), is the recipient of a CBE (Commander of the British Empire).

Marie is the daughter of Frank Gabriel, who left St Lucia in the 1960s with the Windrush. He was born in Soufriere but lived in and was a frequent returner to La Clery, Castries.

Marie’s husband is also St. Lucian, Clement Joseph from Mon Repos, Micoud.

She has dedicated her award to the Windrush generation and the National Health Service (NHS).

Under her stewardship, the ELFT has become the only Trust in London judged by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to be ‘outstanding’ and the only ‘outstanding’ mental health and community health Trust in the country, according to a press release.

“She has helped define an internationally recognised, rights-based, recovery focused approach in ELFT that ensures that patients are meaningfully involved in planning, delivering and evaluating strategy and services,” the release states.

Marie took up her first Board level role at the age 23 and has worked in senior roles in health, local government and the voluntary sector ever since. She was appointed to the ELFT Board in 2012.

Marie, who was born at Mile End Hospital and grew up in the East End of London, said: “I would like to dedicate this award to all the NHS staff that I have worked with, particularly the Windrush generation, which included my dad who travelled from St Lucia to start a new life in England.

“I am immensely proud of my East London and Caribbean heritage and proud of the contribution the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to a modern, effective and diverse NHS.”

Dr. Navina Evans, chief executive of ELFT, said: “Marie Gabriel is an extraordinary leader who fully deserves this recognition.”

ELFT Provides a wide range of community and inpatient services to children, young people, adults of working age, older adults and forensic services to the City of London, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Bedfordshire and Luton, the press release further states.

Other achievements:

* Marie continues to have a defining national, and increasingly international role, on how the NHS works with patients, secures equality and improves services. Of significant impact is her NHS equalities work. She has worked nationally and regionally with the Appointments Commission, Trust Development Authority and NHS improvement and with individual Chairs to recruit diverse Non-Executive Directors and support Board leadership. She currently chairs the Workforce Race Equality Standard Strategic Advisory Group, with a unique focus on supporting the NHS to embed equality. Marie is particularly concerned to support others to achieve positions of influence and leadership, especially women and those from BME groups or from less advantaged backgrounds.

* Marie is dedicated to working at a regional and national level to inform policy and strategy. She previously chaired the London Mental Health and Employment Partnership which went on to inform the mental health and employment element of the London Mayor’s Thrive London Strategy. She is also recognised by her peers, who previously elected her as their representative on the Primary Care Network and currently as their representative on the Mental Health Network Board.

* In her spare time Marie remains committed to removing barriers to success for the East London Community. In her free time Marie is a trustee at West Ham United Foundation, which uses sport to improve education, employment and health outcomes, is Acting Chair of the Foundation for Future London, which is supporting the creation of a world class arts and educational district on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a Trustee of ELBA, which works with London’s businesses community to support social regeneration in East London

* Marie was awarded Freedom of the London Borough of Newham in 2010 and was recognised on the inaugural Health Service Journal (HSJ) ‘Inspirational Women’ List.

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