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About the Author: Barbara Burford

She was born in Jamaica, where she was raised by her grandmother until she was seven. In 1955 she moved with her family to London, where she was educated at Dalston county grammar school and studied medicine at London University.

Barbara joined the NHS in 1964, specialising in electron microscopy in postgraduate teaching hospitals, before leading a team at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. She ran the pulmonary vascular laboratory there for several years during the 1980s. Working with Sheila Haworth, her team was central to several breakthroughs in heart and lung transplant surgery for infants and children.

During her years in London, Barbara was active in feminist politics and wrote plays, poetry, short stories and a novella. Her play Patterns was produced at the Drill Hall theatre in 1984. In the same year her poetry featured in A Dangerous Knowing – Four Black Women Poets. In 1986 she published The Threshing Floor, a novella and collection of short stories that has since become a staple of school and college reading lists.

Barbara moved to Leeds in 1990 to set up IT systems for the NHS executive. A key achievement was Positively Diverse – a programme of guidelines designed to help achieve equality in the NHS. The accompanying field book is still being used by organisations across the country.

As director of equality and diversity at the Department of Health from 1999, Barbara began a number of initiatives that are now well established, such as the Jobshop – an in-house employment agency that was adopted and used by many NHS trusts. She was also a key player in setting up Bradford's healthcare apprenticeship scheme, developed with Bradford University, which changed the demographics of the city's health sector workforce. In 2005 the university appointed her deputy director of its Centre for Inclusion and Diversity, shortly before her retirement.

Barbara then set up a consultancy to carry on her mentoring and coaching work. She produced important equality guides for the Department of Health on disability, gender and religion and helped to develop the equality and diversity strategy for NHS North West.


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Short Stories by

Hardcover, Published in Apr 1987 by Firebrand Books

ISBN10: 0932379281 | ISBN13: 9780932379283

Powerful, well-crafted tales, The cruel realities, dream fantasies, and bitter escapes of Black women.

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