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A healthy population is one of the UK’s most important assets. Good health means we can flourish and contribute more fully to society, our communities and families.  

COVID-19 and the response to it have shone a strong light on existing and persisting inequalities. But what can this teach us about building a more resilient society – one where everyone has the opportunity to thrive?   

Launched in October 2020, the COVID-19 impact inquiry has been carefully exploring the pandemic’s broad impact on health and what this means for improving health and reducing health inequalities in the UK – now and in the future. 

The inquiry launched its final report on 6 July 2021. This webinar, held on the same day, discussed key issues raised in the report – the impact of the pandemic and what needs to be done in recovery to create a healthier, fairer society. 


Dr Sakthi Karunanithi is the Director of Public Health and Wellbeing for Lancashire County Council.

Prior to becoming the Lancashire Director of Public Health and Wellbeing in 2013, Sakthi worked as the Director of Population Healthcare in the county.

He trained across many NHS organisations in the North West region and has been a NICE scholar. His key interests include mobilising communities for wellbeing, integration and improvement of health and care at scale, socio-economic determinants of health and addressing unwarranted clinical variation.

Sakthi is also the Senior Responsible Officer for population health and digital health for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (previously known as STP).

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi

Dame Clare Moriarty provides strategic advice and independent leadership of the COVID-19 impact inquiry programme of work, as well as chairing the expert advisory group.

Clare is currently Chief Executive of Citizens Advice for England and Wales. She was a civil servant for 35 years, latterly as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2015 to 2019, and of the Department for Exiting the EU until its closure in January 2020. Clare held senior roles in the Department for Transport, including as Director General for Rail, and in the Ministry of Justice as Constitution Director.

Her early career was spent mainly in policy roles in the Department of Health and the NHS, including as Principal Private Secretary to both Conservative and Labour Secretaries of State for Health. She participated in the Cycle International of the École Nationale d’Administration, gaining the Diplôme International d’Administration Publique.

As Chair of the Civil Service Leadership and Talent Board, Clare led work on growing the next generation of Civil Service leaders. She is recognised for her work on diversity and inclusion, and has spoken extensively on leadership and the importance of creating space for difference.

Clare was recently appointed as a government Special Representative attending the Transport for London Board. She is a member of the Westminster Abbey Institute Council of Reference and the Advisory Council for the Cambridge Centre for Science & Policy.

Clare became a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath for public service in the 2020 Honours List.

Photo of Clare Moriarty

Dr Mehrunisha Suleman is a medically trained bioethicist and public health researcher who is leading the COVID-19 impact inquiry.

Mehrunisha is a medically trained bioethicist and public health researcher with a range of research experience spanning from healthcare systems analysis to empirical ethics evaluation. She was previously co-editor of the NHS Atlas of Variation for Diabetes and Liver Disease at the Department of Health. More recently she has been working as a researcher at the University of Cambridge conducting an ethical analysis of the experiences and inequalities faced by patients and families trying to access effective palliative and end of life care services. She has extensive outreach and engagement experience, include working with minority groups and diverse sectors across the UK and globally.

Mehrunisha holds a DPhil in Population Health from the University of Oxford and a BA in Biomedical Sciences Tripos from the University of Cambridge. She also holds a medical degree and an MSc in Global Health Sciences from the University of Oxford. Mehrunisha is also a Member of the Faculty of Public Health. She is an expert for UNESCO’s Ethics Teacher Training Programme and is a Council Member at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. She also has an ‘Alimiyyah degree in traditional Islamic studies and was awarded the 2017 National Ibn Sina Muslim News Award for health.

 Mehrunisha Suleman

Rachel Wolf is a Founding Partner at Public First. Rachel’s career has spanned business, charities, politics and Government. Previously education and innovation adviser to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, she was also co-author of the Conservatives winning 2019 General Election manifesto. She has been Senior Vice President for technology company Amplify in New York City, running one of their main product divisions. She founded and ran the New Schools Network – the charity that helped develop and implement the Government’s free schools programme.

Rachel Wolf

Lord Simon Woolley is the Director and Co-founder of Operation Black Vote, a national and internationally renowned race equality organisation.

In April 2021, Lord Woolley was elected Principal of Homerton College, Cambridge University, the first Black man to hold such as post at either Oxford or Cambridge University.

In the last 25 years Lord Woolley has helped transform political and civic institutions, ensuring they are inclusive and representative.

In 2017 Operation Black Vote, launched the ground-breaking The Colour of Power, the most in-depth look at the racial make-up of Britain's top jobs across 28 sectors that dominate British society.

Lord Woolley is seen as the inspiration and one of the architects for the United Kingdom’s Race Disparity Unit and served as the Advisory Chair of Prime Minister May’s Race Unit.

Lord Woolley received a Knighthood in the 2019 Birthday Honours for his services to race equality and was nominated for a life peerage in the United Kingdom House of Lords where he sits as a Crossbench peer.

Simon Woolley


Dr Jennifer Dixon joined the Health Foundation as Chief Executive in October 2013.

Jennifer was Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust from 2008 to 2013. Prior to this, she was Director of Policy at The King’s Fund and was the policy advisor to the Chief Executive of the National Health Service between 1998 and 2000. Jennifer has undertaken research and written widely on health care reform both in the UK and internationally.

Originally trained in medicine, Jennifer practised mainly paediatric medicine, prior to a career in policy analysis. She has a Master’s in public health and a PhD in health services research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1990–91, Jennifer was a Harkness Fellow in New York.

Jennifer has served as a Board member on several national regulatory bodies: the Health Care Commission 2004–2009; the Audit Commission 2003–2012; and the Care Quality Commission 2013–2016. She has led two national inquiries for government: on the setting up of published ratings of quality of NHS and social care providers in England (2013); and on the setting up of ratings for general practices (2015). She was also a member of the Parliamentary Review Panel for the Welsh Assembly Government advising on the future strategy for the NHS and social care in Wales (2017–2018).

In 2009, Jennifer was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and in 2019 was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was awarded a CBE for services to public health in 2013, and a Doctor of Science from Bristol University in 2016. She has held visiting professorships at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the London School of Economics, and Imperial College Business School.

Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation

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