In accomplishing our mission to ethically engage with domestic and global communities to achieve optimal population health, quality of life, and social justice, we have embraced the commitment to develop a plan of action that persistently works against racism and white supremacy. Rollins students have spoken; we are listening, and we are taking action.

In a pursuit of inclusivity and equity, the Rollins School of Public Health values:

  • Innovative scholarship that advances health and well-being
  • Cultural humility and inquiry-driven practice, and
  • Ethical engagement with domestic and global communities

We have to have the courage to constantly redefine the unacceptable. That’s the way to improve the health of populations.” – Dean James Curran

 Student voices subheading

The following is a listing of former and recent calls to action prepared by concerned Black master-level students and recent graduates, and endorsed by students, faculty, and alumni. The Rollins School of Public Health agrees that we need to identify and take actionable steps to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for faculty, staff, and students. The school’s leadership has been moving forward to advance this work.



In 2015, the Black Students of Emory University also presented demands to the University’s leadership.

In response to and in collaboration with the students, we have identified areas where progress is needed and have mapped their demands within each category. Please read this addendum that details each of the demands. These areas commit us to the necessary work that must begin immediately, and also set a roadmap for the incoming Assistant Deanof Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

  • Affirming Black Voices & Experiences Within and Beyond the Classroom (Demands 3 and 10)
  • Faculty Recruitment & Development (Demands 8, 9, and 11)
  • Student Engagement & Orientation (Demands 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, and 14)
  • Admissions Practices & Scholarship Allocation (Demand 7)
  • Transparency of School Demographic Data (Demand 12)

In line with this agenda, we have made commitments to addressing the current need. These steps are only some of our ongoing efforts to foster a more equitable Rollins community and culture.

  • Meeting regularly with school and department leadership to engage anti-racism efforts.
  • Forming a subcommittee of the RSPH Education Committee to develop anti-racism curricula
  • Requiring Cultural Humility training for all incoming/current master’s and doctoral students.
  • Creating the Common Read book list, with accompanying author talks/discussion groups, for students, faculty, and staff

 Progress and Updates subheading

As we move forward in implementing our action plan we will share updates and new actions we undertake.

The required RollinsTogether Orientation Cultural Humility sessions are complete, including a session for incoming doctoral students. The Orientation Team is reviewing feedback data to implement ongoing improvements for future sessions.

We are on schedule to appoint and hire a new Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to begin in early September.

We are finishing up data analysis from the July Listening Sessions. This will inform the School's and OASS's decisions and understanding of the Rollins climate concerning community and belonging.

CDC Day took place on Friday, August 21st. This year, the topic was Endemic Racism during a Pandemic: Navigating the Intersection of Racism and COVID-19in Atlanta. To view the recording, please follow this link.

RSPH Safe Space Dialogue for Staff
The RSPH Human Resources Department offered 1-hour virtual interactive group sessions for staff, facilitated by the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP). Each group session provided a safe space for dialogue around challenges related to the impact of COVID-19, racial and social unrest, and general uncertainty. Participants were invited to share personal and work-related challenges, as well as examples of coping strategies (what’s helping). Facilitators highlighted FSAP and other resources for support, as well as offered suggestions for self-care, team-care and overall resilience during these difficult times.

The Rollins School of Public Health is engaged in a search for an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A member of the Dean’s leadership team, the Assistant Dean will offer thought leadership and oversight for school-wide efforts to increase diversity and equity of faculty, staff, and students; and lead Rollins in developing a culture of inclusivity. This person will lead strategic planning and structural changes at multiple levels of our institution. The Assistant Dean is expected to start in the early fall. Additionally, the Assistant Director of Community Engaged Learning and Cultural Humility, Shannon Vassell, will work closely with the new Assistant Dean to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for students and student groups.

Emory University and RSPH, is working with Mencer Donahue Edwards, CEO & Principal of the Justice & Sustainability Associates to develop a process to understand the current roles, responsibilities, and culture of the Emory police, as well as the Emory community’s expectations for campus and community safety and security – in light of Emory’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 Resources and ways to get involved

Incoming RSPH students are required to select and read at least one of the following texts as part of the RollinsTogether Common Read:

  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  2. From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence, Dr. Hannah L. F. Cooper and Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove
  3. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Dr. Carol Anderson
  4. How to be an Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi

Additional Reading Lists: 

Public Health Reading List on Racial Violence and Racial Health Disparities

Emory Universitiy's Anti-Racisim Reading List