Updated: Oct 23, 2020
We are so excited for the new academic term, and we’d like to send out a big welcome to our newest community members! Let us bring you all up to speed on what’s been going on.
Black Lives Matter at LSHTM Week - Marketplace
On 24 September, Steering Committee Member Emilie Koum Besson welcomed new students and introduced them to our ongoing work at LSHTM. We were thrilled to see so much interest, energy and ideas from this amazing group of scholars and we can’t wait for the chance to engage with them further on racial justice issues. Our groups are open to all, so please continue spreading the word!
Launch of our website
We are delighted to share our new and very own external website! [link here]. You will find a record of all our key communications and activities (see What We Do), media recommendations (see Where we learn and our News Digest), and information about upcoming events and activities (see Events). Our volunteers have put a lot of love into the site and the ideas on it, and we hope you love it too.
On the website, you will find out more about our new projects:
1. Testimonies – If you witness or are a victim of racism at LSHTM please email us with details. We will keep your identity secret but make sure the perpetrators are held accountable. The testimonies will also be posted anonymously online throughout the year, so we all know where we are, and where we need to improve.
2. Researcher self-assessment – Everyone working in global health must ask themselves “is my research topic prejudice or racist?”. We are here to help you think this question through. This project will start with an introductory webinar (date TBC). To get a head start, go to our website where you can already find a form to share your research topic. We will get into contact with you, and you will be given the opportunity to discuss it in a group (anonymously or not, as you prefer) or receive individual feedback (based on our volunteers’ availabilities).
3. Navigating Anti-Racism space when White – Everyone can and should work towards anti-racist practice. For white people, it can be challenging to know how to contribute to this work. Join our white people FAIR WhatsApp group [link here]. to share and learn from each other.
1. Happy Hours – Anti-Racism talks – Join us and others in your pyjamas with tea, or something stronger, to have open conversations about any racial justice related topics that matters to you. It is an opportunity to meet different people and learn to engage in difficult conversations.
2. Black & African history and practices in public health – Through the School year, we will invite Black & African students and alumni to share their experience in public health. The format will be 20/30min presentation followed by questions/answers.
3. Be The Change - We have been overwhelmed with the amount of support we received since we began. We believe in the power of grassroots movement like ours to create communities of people that inspire each other and work together to create sustainable change. As such, this project aims to amplify your voices and create an LSHTM that look like US. We will be inviting students, alumni and staff from every background to share on topics such as what they want to see change at LSHTM, how Black Lives Matter – LSHTM and other groups have influenced their practices, among others. We will share snap shots on our website and our Instagram to inspire others to Be The Change!
If you have a project and would like it to be featured on the website, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Project idea” in the subject and some details.
Launch of our Instagram account
We have also now officially launched our Insta account: FAIR_LSHTM - Follow us for updates.
In October, to celebrate UK Black History Month, we chose to focus on:
- Black & African Mental health
- Black Women & Public Health
- Black & African researchers
Also, if you see something cool and relevant on the gram, make sure to email, DM or Tag us!
Decolonizing the curriculum: status report
We have been closely following LSHTM in their efforts to decolonize the curriculum. Our first letter to school leadership on this topic focused on the need for a well-planned and resourced approach from the start. And while the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) did finally commit to remunerating the work, the committee for decolonizing the curriculum appears to have fallen into old habits, steeped in white privilege. Specifically, the only candidate being considered for this paid (but unadvertised) anti-racism work was a handpicked white man who Committee Members know personally. Our observer on the committee immediately raised objections to this plan, and we have since written a new letter to the committee outlining exactly how wrong this is. We’ll update you as this develops.
On the agenda
2 – 25 October – The Black Muslim Festival 2020 – A celebration of Black Muslim Experience - Read 3 Reasons Why You Need To Be At The Black Muslim Festival 2020 and here is the link to the Festival
9 November at 17:15-18:15 BST - Black Lives Matter presentation and Q&A at the Global Health Lecture Series, via Zoom
Volunteering with Black Lives Matter – LSHTM
And as always, we’ve got a lot going on, so we’d love to have your help. Drop us a line at email@example.com to volunteer or propose something!
Find out about our current volunteer opportunities below:
- Research Self-Assessment: We need some volunteers to engage with students on the “Researcher self-assessment”.
Email us with “RSA Volunteer” in the subject, your topic of expertise and your availabilities.
- Instagram Account: We need 2 or 3 volunteers from the 2020/2021 cohorts to help manage the Instagram account. Ideally, it there would be a rotation (2 or 3 new volunteers) each term to account for changes in workload.
Email us with “Instagram Volunteer” in the subject and your availabilities.
- Website/Events: We need 2 or 3 volunteers to feed our already busy Events page. Diversifying our learning requires a diverse team. Minimal effort required for this one, just if you find anything interesting, add it to the website.
Email us with “Website Events” in the subject
- Website/News Digest: We need volunteers to feed our news digests throughout the year. Diversifying our learning requires learning from different perspectives and sources:
----1.Choose a topic that you are passionate about in global/public health
----2. Compile 5 - 15 different sources about the topic (podcast, Instagram, academic articles, YouTube, Twitter, movies, TV shows, News Article, book, comics, etc.). It can be comedy, drama anything you want!!
----3. Send us that list on a Word doc via email and we compile will share it with everyone on our website and some on Instagram.
The posts will be prepared in advance. Let us know if you want to be acknowledged on the website and Instagram) otherwise, it will be shared as FAIR.
Email us with “News Digest” in the subject
- Black & African History & Practices in Public Health: We need volunteers to share their experiences and work. This is open to alumnus, students and staffs. If you are interested.
Email us with “Black & African Seminars” in the subject with your topic and availabilities.
October is Black History Month in the UK, and we thought we’d commemorate it by celebrating the lives of amazing Black & African physicians who have had a lasting impact on medicine and public health.
We will start with:
Rebecca Lee Crumpler
Born in Delaware (USA) in 1831, Dr Crumpler showed an early aptitude and vocation for healing. After serving 8 years as a nurse in South Carolina before the Civil War, she was accepted in the New England Female Medical college, graduating in 1864 as the first African American female doctor in the country. She then moved to Virginia during Reconstruction to work in the Freedmen’s Bureau, providing medical care to freed people, especially women and children. When she returned to New England, this experience formed the basis for her 1883 book on the health of children and young people: A Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts.
Prof. Jean-Jacques Muyembe
In 1960, when Zaire (DR Congo) finally won its independence from Belgium, there were just 17 Congolese university graduates and not a single Congolese doctor1. A year later, the Western-backed assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba threw the nascent republic into further turmoil. It was in this context that Dr Muyembe began his medical studies, specializing in microbiology and graduating in 1969. In 1976, he discovered a new virus responsible for a mysterious and deadly outbreak along the Ebola River, and he sent the sample to Antwerp, where the young Peter Piot analysed it in the city’s Institute for Tropical Medicine. Since then, Dr Muyembe has dedicated his career to fighting Ebola and other infectious disease outbreaks, including COVID-19. In a recent interview for the World Bank, he shared his insights on outbreak response: caution, community engagement, and good leadership are key pillars, as well as careful adaptation of measures to the local context.
1Davidson B. No Fist is Big Enough to Hide the Sky: the Liberation of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, 1963–74. London: Zed Books, 2017
Sokhna Ndiaye (linkedin)
In 2011, after training to become a psychotherapist in the United States, Sokhna, a Senegalese Alumnus (MSc Public Health – Health Promotion 2017/2018) founded the first pediatric psycho-oncology program in Africa at the University Hospital A. Le Dantec in Dakar, Senegal. She provided individual counselling to children and held therapeutic groups for parents, staff and children to facilitate discussion and the transfer of knowledge between all those involved. When asked about her experience, she shared that some of what she learned in the USA was not directly adaptable to the Senegal context. She had to use her creativity and rely on her lived experience of the country to make it applicable. Find out more about the project and Sokhna here [French] [English]
"I am a strong advocate for sharing practices. We don't all need to go through trial and error or reinvent the wheel. However, it is important to adapt the knowledge acquired abroad to the local expertise and the realities of our African communities for impactful interventions”
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