Profile

Dr Bhavana Chawda

I am Bhavana, the Vice-President of BIPA. I am an Associate Medical Director and Consultant Adult Psychiatrist at the Black Country Mental Health Foundation Trust. My MBBS degree is from Tirunelveli and DPM from Tanjore Medical College. I obtained my primary degree at the West African College of Psychiatrists with my 14-month-old son on my hip in Lagos, Nigeria. I have lived in Birmingham since 1995 and gained MRCPsych and MSc degree in management. BIPA’s birth was a blessing to my nuclear family, especially upon our arrival to the UK. I thrived on BIPA’s focus on culture, tradition, multi-faceted identities. I learnt and grew speaking with experienced BIPA psychiatrists - a huge privilege which I now continually strive to replicate. BIPA accepted me when subtle discrimination and rejection were rife in our day-to-day lives. My strengths: openness, honesty, passion, hard work and outgoing, outspoken nature were unapologetically accepted. As time passed, from mentee I became a mentor. I truly enjoy observing and commenting on the growth and success of our new members, having actively recruited around 25 or more members into BIPA.

I joined BIPA as a life member at its inception and as an Executive Member in 2007, with an extension for further 2 years, was then named the Treasurer, followed by Cultural Secretary for four years, and up to 2 years ago was an opt-in honorary member. I am proud to have been involved in most BIPA National activities and regional activities, working hard in the background with the BIPA EC team to raise BIPA’s profile, ensure our work remains ever thoughtful, meaningful and ultimately successful as BIPA has blossomed into a charitable organisation. I have represented BIPA under the BAME category at the GMC, and greatly enjoyed helping to organise our Annual General Meeting: from planning the educational programme months ahead of time, to managing the noneducational activities like the venue, food, cultural programme, the needs of our families and children. BIPA members are likely to remember me as the first and last person on the dancefloor at our gala dinners. I would be privileged to put my nature - hardworking, a good multitasker, focused with a task in hand, good people skills, clear and succinct self-expression, alongside compassionate leadership and servitude to BIPA.

I am keen to increase awareness of mental health issues at grassroots level, create opportunities for psychoeducation in BAME community settings, empower women to take leadership roles within these initiatives, work closely with Allied Mental Health Professionals, and Indian colleagues in Psychology to come up with comprehensive and cohesive solutions. I would be privileged to put my nature - hardworking, a good multitasker, focused with a task in hand, good people skills, clear and succinct self-expression, alongside compassionate leadership and servitude to BIPA. I am keen to increase awareness of mental health issues at grassroots level, create opportunities for psychoeducation in BAME community settings, empower women to take leadership roles within these initiatives, work closely with Allied Mental Health Professionals, and Indian colleagues in Psychology to come up with comprehensive and cohesive solutions.

As I remember my roots, my humble beginnings, with my feet firmly grounded, I believe it is vital to consider charitable activities in India, alongside maintain a presence in the charity sector in the UK, strengthen our links with other diaspora groups and the Royal College in order to empower ourselves and each other to gain from our shared learning and influence on BAME communities. As the Vice-President, I want to create opportunities for young psychiatrists as I believe in pulling each other up the ladder, never shutting the door on those who follow in our footsteps, giving them room to grow, space to have their voices heard, continually guiding and encouraging them. What I was blessed to receive from those who came before me, I am driven to pass on. I am driven to address systemic socio-economic factors and racial disparities which impact our patients and service users on every level as we cannot claim to be neutral whilst the general public suffers, especially in the wake of recent issues, so as Indians we stand tall to make our voices heard. I am fortunately settled in my career and my children have grown up, leaving me with time, experience, intelligence, energy and abundant enthusiasm to give back to the BIPA community.

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