Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi may indeed be a controversial figure in his homeland, but is a global leader and is revered across the world for the principles with which he led his life and brought about enormous systemic changes for the improvement of the lives of ordinary people. In his 150th year of birth, we have an opportunity to reflect on how his belief in humanity, his principles of universal justice, self-sacrifice and leadership from the frontline are as relevant today, as they were when he undertook his 240 mile walk in 1939 across the salt flats of Gujarat in protest against the unfair and draconian salt tax imposed by the British government. His leadership qualities such as selfless service to humanity, self-sacrificial love, spirituality, integrity and humble living, were emulated by many transformational world leaders who drew inspiration from his life. He stood out for the essential principle that all men are equal and artificial distinctions based on race and colour were both unreasonable and immoral. He practiced what he preached and that can be such a powerful motivator for all. Unfortunately, in spite of the principles of universality that is in the founding principles of the NHS, the reality can be very different. There are significant differences in the health outcomes of segments of the population within boroughs, post codes and health sectors. The trajectory of the careers of healthcare professionals is no different; reflected in the differential attainment of students, the career progression of workers and ‘glass ceilings’ that present often insurmountable hurdles for ambitious individuals based on their gender, disability or racial characteristics. We will hear of initiatives that are being led by individuals and institutions to change this paradigm and close the achievement gap.