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Decolonising Global Health LSHTM

Mission and value statement

Global health is about equity and justice. We believe that global health institutions must fight, not reinforce, racial and national hierarchies and exploitative systems.

Decolonising Global Health LSHTM (DGH-LSHTM) is a community of students, staff and alumni working in a voluntary capacity,  working to challenge the status quo in global health research, teaching and careers at LSHTM and in the countries where we live and work.

Naming the challenges we seek to address 

  • Action for race equality and decolonisation is needed because racial and national hierarchies exist in our daily lives, our institutions and society at large. 
  • Colonial legacies shape the geopolitics of global health and work their way into programme and research design, implementation and monitoring. They also impact on career progression and student awards and shape global health as a political and scientific field. 
  • LSHTM has played a part in establishing and maintaining global health as a (post)colonial field and that the institution continues to benefit from and contribute to its colonial character.  
  • Students and staff who identify and are identified as part of the white ethnic majority or from higher-income countries enjoy a position of relative and typically unspoken and unacknowledged privilege over students and staff that are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic or from lower-income countries.
  • Racism does not only stem from white ethnic majority to others; people of colour can also hold racial prejudices towards other groups.
  • Prejudice needs to be addressed both in people who are well meaning while still holding unconscious bias and in people who overtly believe that certain racial/ethnic groups are inferior.
  • While it is important for people affected by these issues to have a voice, racist and colonial attitudes and structural barriers must be fought by everyone. We should not put undue responsibility on affected groups.

Who is involved

DGH-LSHTM is a volunteer community of students, staff and alumni working to address the prevalence and perpetuation of colonial power dynamics in global health. We work independently and are not an extension of any faculties, departments, centres or committees.

In addition to workstreams (see below), there is a group of volunteer coordinators, including:

What is DGH doing?

DGH-LSHTM ​have six workstreams aimed at tackling racial inequalities within and outside of the School, as follows:

  • Values and engaging senior leadership – pushing LSHTM’s leadership to make reforms that will enable more equitable teaching, research and careers in global health
  • Working towards research equity: Building strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial​
  • External advocacy​
  • Internal and external DGH activities
  • Improving staff and student experience
  • Co-ordination and support

In 2019, DGH compiled and sent a summary of suggested actions to senior leadership to address racial inequality at LSHTM and in global health.

A summary of our work in 2020 and personal reflections on DGH at LSHTM are available in the December 2020 newsletter

A presentation on DGH-LSHTM is available in the February 2021 open meeting video

How to get involved with DGH

DGH-LSHTM is looking for new volunteers to join our group. You can help on any of the workstreams. You do not need expert knowledge of anti-racism and decolonising, to forward new ideas, or support DGH-LSHTM in being more effective at constructive activism at this critical time. 

Any staff, student or alumni at LSHTM, MRC Units in The Gambia or Uganda interested in contributing to our work, please see volunteering opportunities.

    Events

    Upcoming event details and recordings of previous events are available on the Decolonising Global Health event series page.

      Further information

      If you would like to be kept up to date on news and events from DGH-LSHTM, please subscribe to the mailing list and please get in touch:

      Find about about resources that have been shared and collated by DGH-LSHTM on the race equality page (intranet).