Independent report into Race Equality within LSTM

News article 14 Feb 2022
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An independent report has highlighted that some staff of colour have encountered racial discrimination within LSTM.

In addition, the report raised concerns around lack of diversity in LSTM’s senior leadership team and identified a lack of proactivity in communicating about race-related issues.

The report is the result of an extensive and independent review of race equity within LSTM, conducted by Professor Jason Arday. LSTM began talking about race inequalities following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. These discussions were designed to better understand the racial inequalities experienced by our Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority colleagues. We established an internal Race Equality Advisory Panel and commissioned the independent report in September 2021 to quantify the extent of racial inequality and the actions needed to tackle it.

Findings in the report highlight a significant lack of open communication about race-related concerns, which has resulted in a culture where racially discriminatory behaviour has been dismissed or minimised, and where the lack of transparent communication has led to a deep lack of trust between staff and senior leaders. It also acknowledges the activities that have been undertaken by LSTM since we started on this journey to address racial inequalities. We will now build on this platform with a renewed determination.

The report was commissioned by LSTM as a commitment to understand the problem and to address the issues in order to make LSTM an inclusive institution where all people, including those from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds, are valued equally and have equal opportunities. The actions we take will be led by LSTM’s Management Committee. Senior leaders will work to ensure that we consider race equality in every aspect of LSTM and that we become an actively anti-racist institution.

Professor Arday says: “The LSTM Race Equality Review addresses some very important areas for improvement concerning the School’s commitment to addressing and dismantling systemic racist practices. The review and its recommendations are also reflective of LSTM’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist organisation.”

Dr Rinki Deb, Co-chair of the LSTM Race Equality Advisory Panel and BAME Staff Network, says: “I would like to thank our brave colleagues for engaging in the review process and sharing their honest, lived experiences. My colleagues and I, representing the Race Equality Advisory Panel and BAME Staff Network, are encouraged by the commitment and see this as an opportunity for LSTM to be leaders in achieving racial equality. There will be a need for significant change in mindsets and practices within the institution, rebuilding bridges, and investment into sustainable long-term solutions to break barriers. This is an important exercise to the benefit of staff and students now and in the future.”

LSTM Director Professor David Lalloo said: “I as Director, LSTM’s Management Committee and Board of Trustees, accept the findings of the review in full and are completely committed to addressing Professor Arday’s recommendations. We share the report publicly to allow all our partners to hold us to the highest standards in ensuring we achieve racial equality within LSTM. We have a strong desire to do better and be better and are committed to a vision of becoming an actively anti-racist organisation.”

In response to the review’s findings, the report recommends the following:

  • Senior leaders must communicate and embody a deeper commitment to racial equity across LSTM
  • LSTM must take steps to ensure better representation of senior leaders of colour across the institution
  • LSTM must ensure that workforce development initiatives include targeted training around facilitating inclusive environments
  • LSTM should invest in race equity with time, resource and financial commitments
  • LSTM must ensure victims of racism will be offered culturally responsive support

“For almost 125 years now, LSTM’s mission has been to improve health outcomes of people and populations”, says Professor Lalloo. “We will only achieve that if we are a diverse organisation that fully embraces equity in all it does by implementing new actions as a result of this report.”

LSTM has asked Professor Shabbar Jaffar, Head of the Department of International Public Health, to lead on the implementation of these recommendations through ongoing discussions with affected staff, training provision, better representation and improved reporting mechanisms.

LSTM will also become an institutional member of the Race Equality Charter and all actions committed to following the release of this report will be embedded in a Race Equality Action Plan.

Jim McKenna, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “It is clear that there are a number of major concerns that need to be addressed. The Board fully supports the development of the action plan and will be regularly reviewing progress against the plan.”

Over the next 18 months Professor Arday will continue to work with LSTM helping to support the implementation of the necessary actions, which will be reported back on every 6 months.

This report comes at a critical time in LSTM’s history as it approaches its 125th anniversary and considers the shape of the organisation for the future. We ask all members of our community to work with us on this journey towards active anti-racism, to ensure that LSTM can uphold the highest standards and realise our vision.