Miss Lauren Blackwood
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Project Officer
As Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Project Officer Lauren will be working two days a week with the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral, & Craniofacial Sciences (FoDOCS) and 3 days a week on Dignity@Kings with the central EDI team. Within FoDOCS she will be working closely with the Athena SWAN Lead, the EDI Academic Lead, and the Dent-ALL Committee in fostering an inclusive culture and learning environment – collecting data regarding, and with the intention of catering for, the needs of our diverse community.
Lauren has navigated Universities in the U.K and the U.S.A as a black, queer, neurodiverse, working-class, woman for over 5 years. This experience has afforded her the knowledge regarding changes which need to make to set Higher Education on the course to being inclusive and accessible to all. In addition, studying both philosophy and the social sciences has enabled her to be critical of traditional practices and to be aware of the disadvantages that these traditional practices often cause marginalised staff and students to face. Lauren hopes to pass on these skills to both staff and students.
Lauren believes that centring EDI in FoDOCS is important to further our understanding of the disproportionate influx of women into the field of dentistry since women could attend university - this is not a trend in FoDOCS only, but for dentistry across the whole world. She is also interested in exploring and understanding the reasons for the BAME attainment gap and the BAME student retention rates in FoDOCS. The last of her main focuses in faculty is to understand the needs and experiences of transgender and/or non-binary staff and students in order to work towards fostering a safe and inclusive teaching and learning environment.
Finally, when working in healthcare, it is vital that decisions concerning patient safety, care, and welfare are not influenced by the implicit biases we all have. A culture of EDI in FoDOCS will help both staff and students become aware of the biases we share and aid us to work towards unlearning them so that the most beneficial, safe, and humanising patient care can be provided for all.