The University of Bradford has conferred an honorary degree on Rukeya Miah, Head of Midwifery.
Described as a midwife with a very special history with the University of Bradford, Rukeya has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award as part of the Winter Graduation Ceremonies held at the university last Friday.
The university said the award was in recognition of her outstanding career as an award-winning midwife and her advocacy for equality and inclusion within healthcare and leadership.
Rukeya started her relationship with the University in the late 90s, first studying for a Nursing Diploma and then as a student midwife, Rukeya returned as a guest midwifery lecturer, helping the next generation of midwives to achieve their qualification.
She says: “The University of Bradford has a very special place in my heart. I would like to thank the University for this incredible honour, I am immensely grateful.
“The privileges of serving others in the ways that I had the honour of doing is one thing, but to receive an Outstanding Contribution Award from this university in recognition of this is really something.”
Rukeya has delivered thousands of babies during her career – including the unexpected home delivery of her niece, while Rukeya herself was heavily pregnant with her youngest daughter, an experience she describes as “a real wow moment” in her career.
Having been involved with the university for over 25 years, Rukeya has seen many changes in the field of midwifery teaching over the years, most recently the addition of an interactive birthing mannequin and augmented reality technology.
She says: “The midwifery unit at the University was always ahead of its time so to see them innovating and so proactively at the cutting edge doesn’t surprise me, but pleases me incredibly”
Rukeya’s work has seen her recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council as BAME Midwife of the Year 2022, British Journal of Nursing Public Health Nurse of the Year 2023 and shortlisted in three categories in the Nursing Times Awards 2022. On top of that, she has been named as one of Bradford’s most influential South Asians in 2021 and awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours in June 2022.
Many of these accolades are as a result of the integral part she played in Bradford’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, where she was instrumental in addressing the culturally sensitive and varying community needs, increasing the uptake of the vaccine across the district. Rukeya set up a family vaccine centre, enabling whole families to be vaccinated, and took the vaccine to wherever a centre could be set up.
Dr Anita Sargeant, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Health Studies at the University of Bradford presented Rukeya for her Outstanding Contribution Award during the Winter 2023 Graduation Ceremonies. She recalls working with her during the pandemic: “I remember meeting Rukeya in a muddy field at Skipton Music Festival, having been on stage sharing the message about vaccinations, before returning to the tent where her team of staff and volunteers were continuing to deliver vaccinations to the sound of the funfair, live bands and the smell of the food stand!
“But they did this too across Bradford, anywhere a vaccine centre could be set up, making it accessible to all.
“Rukeya has made a significant difference to the lives of people here in Bradford and I’m delighted to be able to recognise and celebrate her work.”