Health, Wellbeing & Happiness Event on 4 April to champion Black women’s health

Racial disparities in health outcomes and mortality rates are longstanding, structural, institutionalised and well-documented in the UK and US (see recommended reading below). Like education, health is a political issue requiring collaborative community solutions, in addition to collective activism.

Our Health, Wellbeing & Happiness event has been developed to champion *Black Women’s Health, bringing together an international collective of academics and practitioners to provide sisterhood, support, guidance and a dedicated space to reflect, share and develop ways to move beyond surviving to thriving and nurturing healthy minds and bodies.

At the first annual event being held at UEL Stratford, the focus is on the UK and US and features three of the Ivory Tower contributors to the edited volume on race and gender inequality in academia: Dr Jenny Douglas, Dr Elizabeth Opara and Dr Marcia Wilson, alongside Dr Deborah Gabriel, creator of the Ivory Tower project and co-editor of the first book in the series. Dr Gabriel also created the Lifestyle Challenge Blog and Steering Group, which features a growing line-up of women specialising in a diverse range of health and wellbeing areas.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Dr Gabriel said:

“Health is as much a political issue as the racial inequalities within higher education where self-help is necessary. Our Health, Wellbeing & Happiness strategy is very much a derivative of the Ivory Tower project as a way of repairing our minds and bodies from the mental and physical onslaught of hegemonic whiteness, race and gender inequality and discrimination.”

Dr Jenny Douglas, is Founder and Chair of the Black Women’s Health & Wellbeing Research Network and a Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion at the Open University. At the event she will be sharing updates from her recent visits to the US. Commenting on the upcoming event, Dr Douglas said:

“In the words of Audre Lorde: ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’”

Health, Wellbeing & Happiness Event – Programme

1.00pm     WELCOME

Dr Deborah Gabriel, Founder of Black British Academics & Lifestyle Challenge




How can sports support health & wellbeing for women of colour?

Dr Marcia Wilson, Head of the School of Sports & Bioscience, UEL



Weight loss & fitness at 50+

 Dr Deborah Gabriel, Founder of Black British Academics & Lifestyle Challenge

  *****2.00pm: 15-MINUTE INTERVAL*****


Eating for health & wellbeing 

Dr Elizabeth Opara, Head of the Department of Applied and Human Sciences, Kingston University



Updates from the USA

Dr Jenny Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion, Open University; Chair, Black Women’s Health & Wellbeing Research Network


3.05pm    REBEL + REST 

Rest, rejuvenation and restoration for African American Women

Virginia Cumberbatch,Director of the Center for Community Engagement & Equity, University of Texas & Co-Founder of Rosa Rebellion



3.35pm – 4.30pm      REFRESHMENTS & NETWORKING


Supported by Shades of Noir Production Team:

Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark, Shades of Noir Junior Editor/Digital Sculptor

Newly appointed to the role of Junior Editor at Shades of Noir (SoN), Rayvenn’s role concerns curating areas of digital content and overseeing the weekly deliverables through our diverse content team in order to ensure consistent social sharing.


Jessica Anoche, Shades of Noir Archivist, Filmmaker and Writer

Jessica is an Archival Developer at Shades of Noir and It is her responsibility to archive and promote the work of students/graduates/creatives of colour.


Recommended Reading

Bhui, K., McKenzie, K. and Gill, P., 2004. Delivering mental health services for a diverse society.

Exworthy, M., Bindman, A., Davies, H.U.W. and Washington, A.E., 2006. Evidence into policy and practice? Measuring the progress of US and UK policies to tackle disparities and inequalities in US and UK health and health care. The Milbank Quarterly, 84(1), pp.75-109.

Grey, Tracy, Hári Sewell, Gillian Shapiro, and Fahmida Ashraf. 2013. Mental Health Inequalities Facing UK Minority Ethnic Populations: Causal Factors and Solutions. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture 3: 146–57

Laird, L.D., Amer, M.M., Barnett, E.D. and Barnes, L.L., 2007. Muslim patients and health disparities in the UK and the US. Archives of disease in childhood, 92(10), pp.922-926.

Lorde, A., 2017. A Burst of Light: And Other Essays. Courier Dover Publications.

Peek, M.E., Cargill, A. and Huang, E.S., 2007. Diabetes health disparities. Medical Care Research and Review, 64(5_suppl), pp.101S-156S.

Szczepura, A., 2005. Access to health care for ethnic minority populations. Postgraduate medical journal, 81(953), pp.141-147.

Williams, D.R. and Rucker, T.D., 2000. Understanding and addressing racial disparities in health care. Health care financing review, 21(4), p.75.

Williams, D.R. and Collins, C., 2001. Racial residential segregation: a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public health reports, 116(5), p.404.

Williams, D.R. and Mohammed, S.A., 2009. Discrimination and racial disparities in health: evidence and needed research. Journal of behavioral medicine, 32(1), pp.20-47.

Originally posted on Black British Academics

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