Charity aims to reduce inequalities through education

Health Pioneers Charity is working with healthcare professionals and communities to encourage social empowerment.

Health Pioneers Charity  logo. Health. Empowerment. Community slogan.
  • Collaborated with 10 organisation across London
  • Recruited 150 over volunteers
  • 500 young people supported
Devina Maru looking at a poster in a classroom

Devina Maru, Co-Founder of Health Pioneers Charity is a GP Registrar by background and one of the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows 2021/22 who worked within the Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care Directorate. Additionally, Devina is a Primary Care Advisor for the NIHR Hearing Theme Board and works within the Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity team within OHID, for the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Health Pioneers Charity originally launched as a community initiative in Tower Hamlets, has now expanded to the whole of London. 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.

We empower young people through health and leadership education to shape their communities 

Within 2 years of launching the Charity has collaborated with 10 organisations, appointed over 150 volunteers and helped over 500 young people. The charity has also featured British Medical Association’s (BMA) Health Inequalities toolkit for clinicians 2021.

Groups of young people standing and smiling

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 includes two branches; 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, and 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. 

‘’I believe young people are the source of innovative ideas to help their communities and schools. We aim to empower young people through health and leadership education to shape their communities’’  

Dr Devina Maru

Social inequalities are associated with most of the leading causes of death in young people

Devina Maru’s key lessons learned are that a key enabler is building a team and identifying opportunities for collaborations and partnerships. Mutual benefitting connections and cross-collaboration can bring a lot of value and can increase productivity, bring new insights and spur creativity.  Devina says; “I learnt that organisations need to be continuously creative and innovative to help them thrive and not just survive. This will help the organisation prepare for new challenges through forward thinking.’’ 

Devina is currently enrolled on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme and is gaining entrepreneurial and commercial awareness, whilst gaining access to opportunities to pitch and potential funding avenues.  

‘’The NHS CEP is a great way to learn from senior commercial leaders within industry to promote innovation and creativity and contribute to transformational change within the NHS. It has been invaluable networking with the clinical entrepreneurs, collaborating and participating and learning at the bespoke practical 2-day session pitstops throughout the year.’’ 

Dr Devina Maru

Looking to the future 

The teams next steps are to build on the momentum, create a virtual platform and develop a central repository of health promotional material developed by young people and share community initiative ideas, connecting education and healthcare.  

If you are interested in supporting the work at Health Pioneers Charity or for more information.


Published by Lucy Dentice

Deputy Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.