Independent review

Independent review to address discrimination and advance anti-racism and equality at LSHTM

In autumn 2020, the Council of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine commissioned a review to examine racial equality at LSHTM. This was in response to both issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement and to broader concerns raised by LSHTM staff and students.

Having actively listened to those concerns and perspectives, the Council is publicly sharing this new report and its recommendations. The review was undertaken by a specialist, external organisation and has been an independent process.

This independent review found evidence of racism and inequalities which point to deeper, more structural problems within LSHTM that have negatively impacted the experiences of those within our organisation.

We understand that these experiences have had very real and painful human consequences. We deeply regret this and apologise sincerely to everyone affected.

While the conclusions of the review are difficult to confront, facing up to them is an essential step towards creating an environment where everyone’s contributions and perspectives are valued. We are determined to do better. We are committed to LSHTM being a place of anti-racist education, employment, research and partnerships. Racism has no place in our School or society, and will not be tolerated at LSHTM.

This review also contextualises its assessment of LSHTM within a wider system of racial inequity and systemic challenges within the higher education sector and beyond. LSHTM has been shaped by colonialism and the patterns of racial discrimination that characterise it. We recognise that those legacies do not diminish the responsibility that we have to create a safe and compassionate working and academic environment for all. To do this, we must address the reality of our colonial legacy, and its impact, to create a future we can all be proud of.

This is a significant inflection point in the history of LSHTM and we will – rightly – feel the weight of this review for a long time to come. Our words must be accompanied by action and accountability. We are fully supportive of the recommendations set out by the review.

Our ongoing work includes modernising our teaching materials, meeting the expectations of the Race Equality Charter, and ensuring that our partnerships and collaborations around the world are based on equity and mutual respect rather than colonial models.

The recommendations in the independent review are to:

  1. Strengthen leadership, governance and accountability
  2. Improve the outcomes and experiences for staff of colour
  3. Improve the outcomes and experiences for students of colour
  4. Change culture and behaviours
  5. Improve complaints and reporting processes
  6. Further develop equitable research partnerships

Based on this, we will be revising our EDI action plan by the end of January 2022 and putting in place structures to oversee the implementation. Responsibility for this action plan will sit with the Executive Team, accountable to the LSHTM Council.

Guided by our commitment to transparency and accountability, we are making this report public to provide the entire LSHTM community with clarity on the serious challenges that we are working to address. It is our expectation that all leadership teams – current and future – will uphold this commitment to transparency that is necessary to build trust and achieve lasting change. 

We also believe it’s important to underscore that whilst there are immediate and near-term actions that require urgency, this is also the next step of a longer journey and there is no “finish line” to cross.

We are working to evolve policies and processes, and to change mindsets and behaviours to make us more inclusive in all that we do for our staff, students, partners and communities. This is critical for delivering on our mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide, and for our ability to train and educate future generations of health researchers and academics. We ask our entire School community to actively engage in our collective effort to move forward in pursuit of an equitable and inclusive environment for everyone.

We would invite everyone affiliated with LSHTM, including our partners in the UK and elsewhere, to stay the course and work alongside us as we build that equitable future for our School and all those that it serves.

Liam Smeeth, Director

On behalf of the Executive Team of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Download the report (pdf)