September 9, 2021

Shera Chok

Deputy CMO, NHS Digital;
and Chair of the Shuri Network

Impact: Shera is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital and a champion for safety, diversity and inclusion. She started and chairs the Shuri Network, the first national network for BAME women in digital health as she is passionate about helping the NHS implement digital transformation successfully and enabling women from under-represented groups to thrive and succeed. As one of a handful of BAME women in senior leadership positions in digital health, she understands the significant challenges faced by women in this sector and is determined to help change this. Her motto is “If I can do it so can you.

At NHS Digital, she provides senior clinical input into national digital programmes including the Covid vaccinations and test programmes, helping to strengthen clinical governance and deliver services that have an impact on millions of people. In a short time, she has had a positive impact on building relationships and communication which are central to the successful delivery of complex programmes.

She has advised the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and NHS England on digital inclusion and embedding tech advancements made during COVID-19, and on NHS service redesign as a clinical member of the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Innovation: As the CCIO in Derbyshire Community Health Services from 2016-2018 Shera helped to lead the implementation of the EPR/ E-prescribing rollout across 13 community hospitals, working closely with nurses, AHPs, informatics teams and doctors to solve problems, provide training and empower clinicians. By listening and acting as a bridge between informatics and clinical teams she was able to unblock barriers and build clinical buy-in and support for the project. As a result, the project was implemented safely and successfully.

She also developed digital clinical champions within the trust and a cross-organisational Derbyshire CCIO network to support the STP to deliver its digital objectives. She used technology to enable the redesign of outpatient services with acute and primary care colleagues, sharing and gaining support for the virtual renal outpatient model from East London with colleagues in Derbyshire in 2017. At Barts Health where she was the Director of Primary Care from 2010-2016, she was instrumental in gaining CCG support for this model of system-wide shared patient records that has cut waiting times for a consultant opinion from around 70 days to 5 days. With remote working now the norm and a focus on recovery this approach has demonstrated improvements in outcomes, efficiency, and safety.

Inspiration: Shera has inspired colleagues, members, and allies of the Shuri Network by sharing her journey, highlighting role models, creating opportunities and by demystifying tech careers. She mentors and supports BAME women who are trying to progress in digital careers and is helping to influence change in workplace culture across the country.

By creating and delivering the vision for the Shuri Network, bringing together a multi-talented team and working with allies in HEE, Digital Health, NHSX, NHSD and the private sector she has gone above and beyond her role as a digital leader.

Other material:
Shera has used her experience as a CCIO and BAME woman and has overcome challenges including bullying and harassment to help inspire other women and to create opportunities for them to share their journeys, take their next steps in digital health and create a powerful movement for change.

The Network has:
• Grown its membership to over 1300 women and allies
• Awarded bursaries to 25 women to join the Faculty of Clinical Informatics with a further 30 this autumn
• Highlighted BAME role models in health technology
• Appointed a Student Ambassador who led a survey to explore views of BAME students.
• Collaborated with Digital Health, the Health Foundation, Coders of Colour, student groups and others to promote digital careers
• Launched a virtual shadowing programme with 65 offers for members
• Been invited to join the national Race and Health Observatory Data and Digital group
• Started a unique Fellowship programme for BAME nurses with NHSE

Feedback received:
“Thank you for everything you have done. Your calm measured way of crossing the divide across primary and secondary care has been brilliant and so many of the achievements you list as ‘we’ could not have happened without your hard work and dedication.” Sir Sam Everington, CCG chair

“What an amazing group!” Navina Evans, HEE

“A real pleasure to be amongst inspiring BAME women and to celebrate the remarkable success of the Network a year on!” Sonia Patel, NHSX

“”The Shuri Network shadowing programme has provided an uncommon and unique opportunity that may otherwise have eluded most!” M Hopkins, Shuri member

“Happy birthday to Shuri! A brilliant network.” Prerana Issar, NHSE.

“Thank you for always being a delight and inspiration.” Shuri member

Further reading: