Saira Arif

Saira comes from a legal background, and started her career in digital health as a Project Support Officer for the first NW London NHS Digital Programme helping manage and set up a Digital infrastructure in a Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups.

She soon became a Product Manager for a local NHS patient facing app where she started to understand the barriers patients and professionals faced with new health technology. Saira eventually grew in her role and became the Digital Citizen & Innovation Programme Manager for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups where her passion to break down barriers and empower others with technology, launched the first Digital Citizen Education Programme which aimed to digitally activate patients and improve digital literacy. The programme was the regional winner of the NHS Parliamentary Award under category ‘The Future of the NHS’ with numerous nominations from local MPs including Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The programme focused on creating ‘Digital Ambassadors’, a mixture of patients and professionals who came together to learn about the range of technologies we used and promoted for patient health in the region. The programme saw the creation of Digital Health Hubs, a drop in space for community members to learn about technology and an opportunity to learn a new skill.

Whilst working on the Digital Citizen Education Programme, Saira embarked on a development programme by Digital Health.London called the NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship. Here, Saira not only grew her skillset, but applied her learnings to her digital citizen project which resulted in the programme training over 200 citizens in the space of 4 months.

At the end of the fellowship, Saira was awarded the SPIRIT Award 2020 by her peers for being consistently positive and motivating and fighting the cause for better digital technology education. Saira was also the finalist for the EMPOWER Award 2020.

Saira has always been motivated to create a space where she could continue empowering local communities in the digital/health tech space. She Co Founded ‘Project DESI’ outside her day job, and is passionate about helping those in developing countries and vulnerable communities in the UK, access skills to benefit from technology.

Saira currently works for ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care & Health Apps, a global leader in the accreditation and distribution of safe high quality health apps. Saira joined ORCHA in late November 2019 as Implementation Manager as she was keen to progress her work towards increasing the uptake of health technology and ensuring that everyone has access to safe and reliable health applications and tools.

Saira’s ethos has always been about putting people at the heart of technology, and loves to focus on creating education and empowerment programmes that compliment the deployment of technology.