Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity


An Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity has been established to consider and inform the Scottish Government’s approach in relation to the impacts of COVID-19 on Minority Ethnic (ME) communities. This was in response to reports at a UK-wide and international level that some ME groups may be at risk of experiencing disproportionate effects, both in terms of adverse health outcomes and in a wider context, including economically.

The creation of the Expert Reference Group is one of the five key actions being taken forward by the Scottish Government in response to COVID-19’s impact on ME communities. The other four actions are: an ongoing programme of work to understand the data in relation to any disproportionate risks and impacts on ME groups; the publication of workplace assessments to ensure that ME staff working in health and social care settings receive the support they need; a targeted marketing campaign ran throughout May, to ensure ME communities received core public health messages in accessible formats, and; direct engagement with ME communities and representatives, to listen to and address concerns, and outline Scottish Government work.

The Group, which will consist of academics and other expert advisers alongside Scottish Government officials, will work to contribute to the Scottish Government’s emerging approach, and advise on proposed actions to mitigate the harms felt by ME communities in relation to COVID-19. The Group will feed into the work of the Race Equality Action Plan Programme Board, as well as make strong links with the COVID-19 Advisory Group and other key groups as necessary.


  • Dr Ima Jackson, Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Life Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University

  • Professor Vittal Katikireddi, Co-Chair, Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, and an honorary Consultant at Public Health Scotland)

  • Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, Co-Sponsor
  • Paul Johnston, Director General for Education Communities and Justice, Co-Sponsor
  • Douglas Anderson, senior Scottish actuary specialising in longevity and diversity
  • Raj Bhopal, Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh
  • Jatin Haria, Executive Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
  • Aisha Holloway, Head of Nursing Studies at Edinburgh University
  • Kaliani Lyle, former Scottish Government Race Equality Framework Advisor
  • Nasar Meer, Professor of Race, Identity and Citizenship in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Gina Netto, Reader in International and Forced Migration at The Urban Institute, Heriot Watt University
  • Kate O’Donnell, Professor of Primary Care Research & Development
  • Rami Ousta, Black and Minority Infrastructure Scotland (BEMIS)
  • Aziz Sheikh, Professor of Primary Care Research & Development and Director of the Usher Institute

Scottish Government officials and from key policy areas, as well as representatives from Public Health Scotland and National Records of Scotland, will also sit on the group.



Equality Unit
Equality and Human Rights Division
Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

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