Our Entrepreneurs; Devina Maru

Meet #OurEntrepreneurs. Introducing Dr Devina Maru a GP Registrar and co-founder of Health Pioneers Charity.

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I am the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow working within the Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care Directorate and a GP Registrar by background. I am very passionate about promoting health within our communities and reducing health inequalities. I completed my MBA and obtained a diverse range of clinical and business experience and am a co-founder of Health Pioneers Charity, helping reduce health and education inequalities amongst lower socio-economic deprived areas and ethnic minorities. I was the 2021 winner of the UK Asian Women of Achievement Award – Young Achiever Category and received the national Pulse GP Award – GP Trainee/Rising Star. 

Name: Dr Devina Maru, NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Cohort 6

Occupation: GP Registrar

I hold various national and international board roles including Primary Care Advisor for the NIHR Hearing Theme Board, was the National RCGP Clinical Champion for Hearing Loss and currently works within the Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity team within OHID, for the Department of Health and Social Care.

Why did you apply to the programme and what are you looking forward to? 

Whilst working as healthcare professionals in the NHS, we have gained an in-depth understanding of the issues. I was motivated to use my entrepreneurial skills, promote innovation and creativity, and continue putting forward solutions to benefit the health sector.

NHS CEP is a great way to learn from senior commercial leaders within industry and contribute to transformational change within the NHS. I firmly believe, for an organisation to thrive and not just survive, they need to be continuously creative and innovative, which will help the organisation prepare for new challenges through forward thinking.

I am looking forward to gaining entrepreneurial and commercial awareness, identifying potential opportunities and networking with clinical entrepreneurs, collaborate and participate and learn at the bespoke practical 2-day session pitstops throughout the year. 

Tell us about your innovation  

I am co-founder of Health Pioneers Charity. The Charity was founded to tackle the health and education inequalities that exist amongst young people in the most socio-economic deprived areas. Within the Charity, healthcare professionals work closely with communities, schools, and local authorities, providing educational, mentorship and leadership programmes encouraging social empowerment and building communities. Within a year of launching the Charity has collaborated with 10 organisations, appointed over 150 volunteers and helped over 500 young people. Health Pioneers Charity was featured as a case study example of projects reducing inequalities within the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Health Inequalities toolkit for clinicians 2021.  

At the core of the Charity is the drive to empower young people through health and leadership education to shape their communities and ultimately reduce these inequalities through their innovative and creative solutions, empowering them to become the future Health Pioneers of society.

The Charity has two branches;  

  1. Pathways to Health Programme, a health education and leadership programme that empowers young people to work with health professionals to design, implement, and lead a community health project that solves a health problem within their community. 
  1. A bespoke 1-1 Mentorship to Health Programme covering all 8 areas of Gatsby Benchmark for healthcare disciplines including medical, dentistry, nursing and allied health professionals’ 

What motivates you? 

Whilst working as a junior doctor I have seen how wider determinants of health, access to care and health behaviours have resulted in health inequalities amongst our communities. I strongly believe we must encourage and foster health promotion and have a proactive approach to health rather than reactive to disease. This motivated me to address the social determinants of health amongst young people, with the hope this health knowledge would change health behaviours, and this would follow through generations to come, making a huge impact. Young people are the source of innovative ideas to help their communities and schools and healthcare professionals need to work together to promote health and embed good health behaviours from young. 

What are your ambitions for the next year?

Healthcare professionals working closely with schools and expanding our programmes from London region to nationally. Our ethos is that young people have the creativity and talent to solve many issues within our communities. We help empower young people to work with health professionals and teachers to design, implement, and lead a project that solves a health problem within their community.

Many have developed amazing resources and have inspiring community project ideas to reduce health inequalities. Our next steps are building on this momentum and creating a virtual platform with a central repository of health promotional material developed by young people. Sharing these community initiative ideas and materials helps connect education and healthcare.

How can we find out more?

To find out more connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter or visit the Health Pioneers Charity website

TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE THROUGH INNOVATION