Moving toward diversity

I hope you got a chance to look at the year in photos blog posted last week. There’s so much of which we can be proud!

Martin Luther King’s birthday is a good time to share what we’re doing to make the School more diverse. Our Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (DITF) wrote an excellent report with a number of powerful recommendations. We’re focusing on the top ones, based on input from various leadership groups in the School and DITF.

First, the Dean’s Council agreed upon a statement of commitment to enhance diversity and inclusion, which is now posted on our website. Here’s the message of our collective commitment.

We, the School’s leadership, are committed to ensuring that the School is a diverse, inclusive, civil and welcoming community. Diversity and inclusion are central to our mission — to improve public health, promote individual well-being, and eliminate health disparities across North Carolina and around the world.

Diversity and inclusion are assets that contribute to our strength, excellence and individual and institutional success. We welcome, value and learn from individual differences and perspectives. These include but are not limited to: cultural and racial/ethnic background, country of origin, gender, age, socioeconomic status, physical and learning abilities, physical appearance, religion, political perspective, sexual identity, and veteran status. Diversity, inclusiveness and civility are core values we hold as well as characteristics of the School that we intend to strengthen.

We are committed to expanding diversity and inclusiveness across the School — among faculty, staff, students, on advisory groups, and in our curricula, leadership, policies and practices. We measure diversity and inclusion not only in numbers, but also by the extent to which students, alumni, faculty and staff members perceive the School’s environment as welcoming, valuing all individuals and supporting their development.

The School’s Chairs’ Committee agreed with the DITF that it is important to share best practices across the School. We are starting with admissions processes. Very soon, we will invite representatives from each department to serve on an ad-hoc committee to identify best practices for admissions.

We also polled DITF members and identified those who want to serve on an implementation subgroup. (Thank you all.) We’ll contact them soon.

Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, Clinical Professor and Associate Chair for Multicultural Affairs, continues to serve as a consultant to the SPH from her base in the School of Nursing. Christin Daniels, MA, Director for Research in our School, is providing essential support.

There’s a lot going on in departments across the School: check out what’s happening in Health Policy and Management.

We’re in the process of restructuring our Summer Public Health Fellows Program to facilitate the goal of enhancing our diversity. Our new assistant dean for students, Charletta Sims-Evans, MEd, brings her extensive experience with pipeline programs to the process.

We continue to support the annual Minority Health Conference. The title of this year’s conference is Translational Research: The Road from Efficacy to Equity.  As always, it will be informative, interesting and exciting.

These are just the highlights. There’s so much more happening across the School. A diverse, inclusive environment benefits us all. Happy Monday. Barbara


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