A total of 28 UK medical schools have now signed up to a British Medical Association (BMA) charter aimed at tackling racial harassment, which was published back in March.
The charter sets out a series of actions to be committed by medical schools, aimed at preventing and dealing with racial harassment. These include ensuring robust processes for reporting and handling complaints and supporting individuals to speak out.
Alongside the charter, the BMA also published guidance for BAME medical students on what they can do should they experience racial harassment and guidance for those who witness racial harassment, including how to be an active bystander.
BMA Medical Students Committee (MSC) Co-Chair Becky Bates, who was previously part of a task and finish group at her medical school at the University of Exeter working to implement the charter, said: “I have been thrilled by the reception of staff at Exeter to the charter, and their commitment to it resulting in meaningful change not just for our medical students but for the entire College of Medicine and Health community.
“By including both students and staff in task and finish groups based on the areas of the charter, we will be able to pinpoint where we can and must do better in stamping out racism, and find ways forward together.”
An inquiry into racial harassment in UK universities published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission last October found that roughly a quarter of BAME students said they had experienced racial harassment since starting their course.
Ensuring medical students of all backgrounds, races and identities are equally supported is a key step in guaranteeing a health workforce which is representative of wider society and can bring a wider understanding of health, approaching the subject from a broader range of perspectives.