14 - Newsletter - New Year, Student Toolkit, New status, #BHM UK & 16 months finally came to an end

Hello, everyone! And welcome (back) for a new academic year, which we think is going to be our best yet. We’ve really started to see the positive impacts of the work we’ve been doing over the past year and a half, and we can’t wait to share some good news.


The FAIR Network goes institutional


Staff and research students have now received a copy of the joint statement of intent released by LSHTM and the FAIR Network (also available on the LSHTM website), laying out a shared vision and objectives for the school over the coming years. The Executive Team recognised the school’s responsibility to actively dismantle the existing systems of oppression and to look to the lived experiences of its racially minoritised staff and students for direction and guidance.

Before the publication of the agreed ways of working, we want to reassure you that FAIR’s voice and work will remain independent, but henceforth it will be compensated. We will continue to work with the school to provide resources for antiracism and to instil shared values and justice throughout the institution based on the principles of restorative practice. This is just the beginning of a trust-building journey, and there is still a long way to go, but we are pleased that, after a lot of effort, we are heading in the right direction.


Welcoming new students


The FAIR Network was thrilled to meet with over 180 new students during LSHTM’s Welcome Week (September 20-24). We walked them through the history of our group, the work we’ve been doing to push for improvements in racial justice at LSHTM, and the projects we’ve got on the horizon, including a new antiracist toolkit designed with students in mind (more on that below). The feedback we received was heartening and humbling. One of our favourite comments: "I feel safer already knowing that there is an organisation like that :)". We’re so excited to work with this amazing group of scholars over the coming year.


We will be doing a presentation for Distance Learning students in November, details to be confirmed.


Launch of an external investigation on racism at LSHTM


Anyone who has been following our group or others committed to anti-racism work at LSHTM will know that the performance of a comprehensive, independent investigation of institutional racism at the school has been a central demand to LSHTM since the summer of 2020. After more than a year of lobbying from multiple parties, we are pleased to see that the incoming Director and the Executive Team are finally making this happen! While the FAIR Network is not responsible for the investigation itself, or chosing the reviewing organisation, we met with the Nous review team individually, and later on September 28th as a group, and we encourage you to do the same.


There are lots of ways for current and former staff and students to get involved. Get started by reading up a little on the review and the team running it here. That document has links to an online survey and information about how to set up a one-on-one interview or group session (self-organised or moderated by a member of the review team). Confidentiality is guaranteed, as is support during the session.


Antiracism toolkit for students


Building on the antiracism toolkits that FAIR Network volunteers created with LSHTM staff and educators in mind, our members are now leading the development of a new toolkit, this time commissioned by LSHTM. The toolkit will be an official document, circulated to LSHTM students in Term 1, and it is designed to increase students' knowledge and awareness of anti-racism and decoloniality and foster an environment in which they are able to advocate for racial equity both for themselves and the wider community. The toolkit will also support enrolled students in their journey to become practicing anti-racist public health professionals equipped to dismantle colonial legacies in their chosen field.


If you have ideas on what should be included, don’t hesitate to get in touch; we are meeting with students online and in person to gather ideas. Teaching staff are also warmly invited to review the toolkit so that together, we can create the best possible resource for our school.


If you would like to be a reviewer (looking at the toolkit as a whole, or just certain sections), please email fair@lshtm.ac.uk


16 months to nowhere - Final outcome - The complaint was UPHELD.


Following an external and an internal investigation, the "16 months to nowhere" complaint publicised by FAIR in January 2021, has been upheld. We have learned that the perpetrator concerned is no longer employed at LSHTM.


Over the past 18 months, the leadership of several global health organisations like ours have taken action in attempts to correct structural failure and potential individual negligence to enhance accountability for misconduct and ultimately address institutional racism.


On September 28th, the findings from an independent investigation commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) on sexual abuse during the global health agency’s response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reminded us of the importance of those efforts. It took the courage of whistle-blowers and a strong leadership committed to justice and accountability to identify more than 80 alleged cases implicating at least 20 staff members (foreign and national).


At LSHTM, we will continue to offer support when needed in efforts to prevent those events from happening in the future. In the meantime, we would like to take a moment to applaud the individuals who stood up and worked with bravery and determination to make LSHTM a safer place for ALL its students. Thanks to all of you as well, who share our beliefs that addressing racism is in the school’s best interests and continue to help foster that environment.


It is time to ensure that ALL students feel supported during their studies and learn in an anti-racist classroom environment


We want to ask everyone to be mindful of all stakeholders' privacy during this period and remind you that all racist offenses are intolerable but each are dealt with according to the specific circumstances and are guided by published school procedures.


Black History Month UK - October 2021



Black & Gay, Back in the Day LINK


Upcoming event


Global Health Lecture Series - Power, privilege and racism: understanding decoloniality in global public health


FAIR’s founding member, Emilie Koum Besson, has been invited back to the Global Health Lecture Series to give a webinar presentation on 4 October from 17:30 to 18:30: Power, privilege and racism: understanding decoloniality in global public health. We’re very much looking forward to hearing Emilie challenge the assumptions underpinning decoloniality and bringing the global health community a little closer to integrating antiracism practice into our work and daily lives. You can join the webinar here.


Centre for Global Mental Health Annual Rebalance Event: Rebalancing racial injustice: A glance at racial injustice from different lenses


Thursday 14th October from 17:00 to 18:00 - link

Join us for a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A that will carefully examine the intersection of race, with a particular focus on internalised, personally mediated, and institutional racism. We will hear a series of talks from experts on racial equality, mental health and public health, followed by a discussion and Q&A with our audience.


The session will be chaired by Asmae Doukani, Research Fellow and Chair of the Rebalance Working Group at Centre for Global Mental Health (CGMH) at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Panelists comprise:

·Dr Yasmin Gunaratnam, Goldsmith University of London: ‘Social suffering and decolonial joy’ ; Dr Rabeea’h Aslam, Swansea University: ‘Understanding Race in Global Mental Health’ ; Dr Jacob Bor, Boston University: ‘Structural racism and health in the US: Beyond disparities research’ ; Dr Dixon Chibanda, LSHTM: 'Breaking the walls of internalised racism’


Keep in touch


To keep closely engaged with our community, join our Whatsapp groups: Black Lives Matter-LSHTM (main group), Black Women’s group, and/or the White Folks group. You can also email us at our new “official” email address: fair@lshtm.ac.uk.


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