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This Newsletter aims to provide information regarding the latest successes, opportunities and changes in UAEM, as well as the most important news from the intersection of intellectual property and global health.
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Proudly presenting our new column:


Lessons from the Barts team about the GHRLT event


Adi Dagan is our new UAEM Europe Campus and Campaign Organizer (CCO) and she will be joining us in this new column every month. She interviewed Haniah Patankar, who is Medsin Barts Co- President and has been working together with UAEM Barts since the launch of the GHRLT, on lessons from organizing such an event and on engagement with university staff to promote UAEM goals.
Q: Could you share some lessons regarding preparations for the event?
 
A: It's probably best to not explain everything in emails. We invited speakers to the event via email, which explained briefly the GHRLT alongside explaining the purpose of the event. On reflection, it would have been better to arrange face to face meetings allowing us to respond and interact more effectively.
 
 Q: During your interactions with staff members prior to the event, a few of them expressed reluctance to speak in the panel - what are your thoughts about this kind of dynamics?
 
A:  Perhaps, if we'd initially began the conversations by emphasising how the results were a good opportunity for us to have a chat about our university policies - we could have made it seem a little more informal and relaxed. For example, an informal face to fact chat with the Head of Technology Transfer prior to the event, proved successful, as he expressed a willingness to draft together a SRL policy over the next semester. 
 
Q: It seems that a big part of the discussion that took place in the event was about the League Table methodology and less on advancing SRL, what are your thoughts about avoiding similar scenarios in the future?
 
A: As I mentioned before, I think it's a good idea to arrange meetings before hand, with people who are able to argue for the methodology and allow staff members to make their criticisms and to counter them in this setting as opposed to at the event. Also - I'd say probably better communication, just reiterating as often as possible what the aims of the event were with the speakers. I think having a focus on one or two of the indicators from the GHRLT to discuss at the event would have given the speakers a bit more direction
 
Q: How do you intend to further promote your goals on campus?
 
A: We will be having a follow up meeting with the Head of Tech [Office]. We're hoping to come up with an action plan before and during the meeting which I think is better than just having a chat and going around in circles which leads to pointing fingers. Our action plan prior to the meeting will involve setting clear aims for what we hope to get out the meeting. This will include having a debrief with regards to the event, drafting up a SRL policy to present to the Head of Tech Transfer and making sure we leave the meeting knowing what will be happening with the policy now it has been drafted up. We would like to also make sure we are all expecting similar results from the policy, alongside making joint decisions on how we can ensure there is implementation of the policy once it has been passed.
Haven't heard of the Global Health League Table? The whole project can be found here. Don't miss the press release here. And if you want to read more about the "Barts reaction", read this
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Reactions to Global Health League Table

What have UK universities said about the UK Report Card?

UAEM Barts and Medsin Barts invited professors, researchers and staff at Queen Mary's University of London (QMUL) to share their impressions and thoughts on the Global Health League Table (GHLT). Who dared to show up? What did they say? Were they happy with the grade that QMUL received (19th out of 25)?

The GHRLT was designed with the goal of fostering student-staff collaboration to improve relevant university policies.  At Barts and The London, the medical school belonging to Queen Mary’s University of London (QMUL), UAEM Barts and Medsin Barts set out to open this dialogue with a panel discussion. QMUL was ranked only 19th out of 25, and the criticisms of the GHRLT were harsher than expected.

Although several speakers had been invited, only Jonathan Meldrum (co-author of the league table) and Professor Allyson Pollock (Director of Global Public Health Unit and Professor of Public Health Research and Policy) spoke. Some of the other invited speakers did not wish to say something publicly on behalf of the university. The debate that resulted illuminated some causes behind the problems experienced.  
Professor Allyson Pollock conveyed serious concern about the methodology and consequences of the league table. She pointed out that ‘global health research’ was a very broad term, and that the methods used to construct the GHRLT – mainly based on PubMed – omitted a vast majority of QMUL’s global health research contribution beyond work published in PubMed; the biggest health gains in history, she argued, had after all not come from biomedical research, but from addressing social determinants such as sanitation, clean water, and nutrition. She also argued that the main problems with access to medicines were not patents sought by universities, but again wider social determinants. League tables may have unintentional harmful consequences, such as being used as a tool for allocating governmental funding away from low-scoring universities.

In defense of the league table, Meldrum pointed out that using PubMed was not meant to capture all available research, but was used to take a snapshot of the output of the universities. He pointed out that other universities probably have a comparable proportion of research in non-PubMed fields. He also argued that the methodology of the league table did include many studies that looked at social determinants and did not just focus on drugs and innovation. And while access to medicines may be influenced more by other factors than by universities’ patent-seeking behaviours, it is still a significant problem, and one that universities are in a place to change easily. Meldrum pointed out that UAEM have been campaigning in the UK for ten years, and has seen minimal change. The league table is therefore a high profile tool to catalyse change at a faster pace.

Intended to be an event of staff-student collaboration, there was only one staff member in the audience, a researcher in Global Health. He said that league table could rather alienate global health researchers and relevant staff, encouraging ‘teaching for the test’, where universities would focus more on the metrics that would benefit their league table position, rather than giving them the freedom to work in areas that may have the most benefit in global health.

Overall, the attitude from university staff welcomed socially responsible licensing policies, but suggested that the current metrics used are in their view flawed if it is to be labelled as a league table for ‘global health research’. The difficulties faced by Barts students trying to change QM policy calls attention to problems that students in other universities might face in the future in their own efforts. Perhaps the global health research league table’s controversy is actually its strength; after all, we are talking about it.

The SSWG has delivered a new baby.

Yes, these guys have been working really hard to figure out what kind of organization-structure will be UAEM in the next months-years. Read their proposal by clicking here. Andia, Andrea, Chris, Jesper, Mila and Tommi have been workingreally hard to design a functional, sustainable structure that could fit into what is UAEM already, and what it could become! They want your opinionon that proposal BEFORE MARCH 15th (fill this easy form). Thank you!
Neglected Disease of the Month Poster #3, UCL

The UK chapter at UCL (University College London) has taken up a brilliant, good ol' idea of UAEM Norway: Neglected Disease of the Month poster!

We've been hanging up these posters all across our university campus and have received some responses by inspired students wishing to learn more about UAEM!

Oh, and should you plan to make a poster too and hung it up in, for instance, toilets at your uni, you could use the following slogan: "Get in touch - but wash your hands first!" 

UAEM UCL
 
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