Doctor among first to spot Covid effects on ethnic minorities made a CBE

·3-min read

A leading diabetes doctor who was also among the first to identify the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority groups has been recognised with a royal honour.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, a University of Leicester scholar, Sage member and GP, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours list.

Alongside Professor Melanie Davies CBE, Prof Khunti established the globally-recognised Leicester Diabetes Centre, which employs more than 170 researchers.

He has also improved the health of ethnic minority people by leading a body of research throughout the pandemic, and working as chairman of the Sage ethnic sub-panel.

Prof Khunti described being recognised by Buckingham Palace as a “huge honour”, and paid tribute to his colleagues and his family.

“I am truly humbled and I would like to dedicate the award to my team at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, the University of Leicester, my staff at the Hockley Farm Medical Practice, and most of all to my family,” he said.

“It is indeed a huge honour to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.”

Prof Khunti grew up in a crowded terrace house in inner-city Leicester and was told by his teacher that he would not make it, but has gone on to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

He began working as a GP in 1990 and recruited his first research assistant in 1998.

With increasing success, the team grew and Prof Khunti became Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester in 2007.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Leicester, said Prof Khunti’s work is “admirable”, adding that he has worked “tirelessly” for his achievements.

Prof Canagarajah said: “I am immensely proud of Kamlesh’s achievement and it is most highly deserved.

“His dedication to improving health outcomes for some of the most hard-to-reach communities is admirable and he has worked tirelessly in his career to achieve so much.”

Professor Azhar Farooqi OBE, chairman of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted and proud that Kamlesh has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

“This is extremely well deserved for Kamlesh’s outstanding contributions to medical research, in particular in the fight against the Covid pandemic and in highlighting the importance of reducing health inequalities.”

Richard Mitchell, chief executive at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, also congratulated Prof Khunti on his “well-deserved” honour.

“His research and direct patient care has improved the lives of so many, in particular those in ethnic minority communities,” he said.

“Kamlesh is an incredible colleague and the impact of his work has made, and continues to make, a remarkable difference.”

Prof Khunti, now the author of more than 1,000 academic papers, is also director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands.

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