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In a thought-provoking seminar held on Wednesday 31 May, experts and academics gathered to delve into the complex relationship between racism, colonialism, and health inequities. The ‘Race and Health: Reckoning with the past and present to secure better futures’ seminar was held at Green Templeton College and provided a platform for deep introspection and constructive dialogue on the impact of historical legacies and contemporary geopolitical events on health disparities.

A group of people sit and discuss Race and Health. Logos above. Text reads: Race and Health.

Featuring a series of short presentations from members of the Race & Health Network and contributors to the Lancet 2022 series, the seminar also included inter-disciplinary panel discussions and a Q&A with academics from Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and the Medical Humanities Programme. 

Senior Researcher Dr Tanvi Rai said: I wanted us to think about racialised health inequalities from interdisciplinary perspectives, in order that we make some progress in engaging with some of the stickier and more complicated challenges that lie within this topic. 

Dr Rai added: It was a pleasure and a privilege to host all the fantastic speakers who presented their work (including material from a Lancet paper on climate justice published just two days before the event!). The panel discussion and Q&A was an intellectually rich and invigorating session where we discussed a big range of important issues, including decolonising medical education, the continuing colonial imprint on contemporary global inequities within the climate crisis, racism in doctor-patient interactions and its ethical implications, and disease prediction technologies that risk exacerbating racialised inequalities in health outcomes. 

Delanjathan Devakumar, Professor of Global Child Health at UCL, said: Speaking to and learning from the multi-disciplinary panel and audience in Oxford was a wonderful opportunity for us and we hope the collaboration will continue. 

Dr Abi DeivanayagamClinical Research Fellow at UCL, added: ‘It was a pleasure to be warmly welcomed to Oxford to take part in this half day event. It was brilliant to hear about the multidisciplinary work taking place on racism as a determinant of health at Oxford. We enjoyed sharing our work on racism, climate justice and youth-led solutions. We look forward to connecting again in the future. 

Dr Mehrunisha Suleman, Director of Medical Ethics and Law Education at Green Templeton College said: ‘It was a wonderful privilege to hear from the Lancet Series team about the innovative methods they have been employing to ensure research on race and health is inclusive and reflective of diverse experiences and needs. It is invaluable to have spaces like these where researchers from different disciplines across the university can share their work, reflecting on methodological synergies as well as challenges! 

The event concluded with a drinks reception, where attendees continued their discussions and reflected on the day's insights.  

Dr Rai concluded: Through this event we brought together an important network of people which has already led to a few different conversations about future collaborative work in this area. Watch this space! 


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