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Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu




Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu is an Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London and is of Irish/Nigerian heritage.

In 1979 she set up the first ever UK sickle cell/thalassaemia nurse counselling service, based in Brent. She then became a senior lecturer in Community Genetic Counselling at the University College London’s Institute of Child Health. Prior to retirement in 2007, she was Dean of the School of Adult Nursing Studies and Professor of Nursing at University of West London (UWL) & also established the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice. 

Elizabeth is co-author with Professor Karl Atkin (University of York) of The Politics of Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia (2001) published by Open University Press & author of A Short History of Mary Seacole: a resource for nurse & students (2005), RCN Publishing. Her highly acclaimed memoirs Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union, originally self-published in 2016, have been republished in 2021 by Orion, entitled Dreams From My Mother.

She was Vice-Chairperson of the successful Appeal for the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue that was unveiled in June 2016 and is now Life Patron of the Mary Seacole Trust.  Elizabeth is also Patron of the Sickle Cell Society & the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK & is Vice-President of Unite/Community Practitioners/Health Visitors Association (CPHVA).  In 2018 Elizabeth was listed as  one of the top 70 influential nurses and midwives between 1948 and 2018.

In 2020 she was included in the top 100 Greatest Black Britons and as one of the 50 most influential BAME people in health.

Elizabeth appeared in May 2020 as a guest on the BBC Desert Island Discs radio programme.

In November 2020 she was included in the BBC 100 Women 2020 list.

Awards include:

  • Honorary Doctorate Awards from:

  1. St Andrews University – 26th June 2019

  2. Brunel University – 9th July 2019

  3. Birmingham City University – 24th July 2019

  4. University of Manchester – 9th October 2019

  • Becoming a Dame in 2017 when awarded a DBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal.

  • CBE in 2001 for services to nursing.

  • Fellowship of the Queen’s Nursing Institute (FQNI) in 2017.

  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing (FRCN) in 2004. 

  • Inducted into the Nursing Times Nursing Hall of Fame in 2010 for services to the Development of Nurse-led Services. 

  • UK Chief Nursing Officers’ Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nursing Times Awards ceremony on 26th October 2016.

  • British Journal of Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award 2018

  • Pride of Britain 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

Read more on Elizabeth's website HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE.