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.

2020

2017

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

Updated September 2020

Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences (BSHES)

BSHES Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group

Departmental Initiatives:

  • Currently creating an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group, which will be comprised of faculty, students and staff
  • Planning a faculty and student training focused on anti-racism and cultural humility in the Fall
  • Increased mentorship aimed at building equity and an inclusive community
  • A year-long film series focused on racial equity topics
  • In response to student requests and concerns, developing new coursework with an emphasis on anti-racism
  • Developing and implementing a yearly EDI assessment to identify improvements based on targets identified by students

Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (BIOS)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

Committee Purpose: The official charge is: “Review current activities related to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in our department, School, and discipline. Recommend possibilities for new initiatives and activities relating to recruitment and retention. Participation in initiatives (e.g., the MLK Community Service Awards Ceremony, Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics Workshop at ENAR).” This is implemented by the committee more broadly as “Improve equity and inclusion in BIOS.” Committee membership is comprised of faculty, staff, and students.

Departmental Initiatives:

  • Continue dialog and raising of awareness of DEI issues through periodic short primers/facilitated discussions for students and faculty/staff
  • Continue assessment of DEI in the department through:
    • Annual survey (BIOS Climate Survey)
    • Facilitated discussions (see above)
    • Other tracking measures (ideally, recruitment and retention)
  • Increase transparency of DEI and improvement activities in the department through annual reporting and quarterly updates in the BIOS newsletter
  • Continue to increase community ties and departmental inclusion through service opportunities and informal department events
  • Continue to engage with students on equity concerns and promote inclusive student-led activities through a DEI Committee member who is the designated BIOS Student Council liaison
  • Goals for academic year 2020-21:
    • Create some example data analyses for faculty to use in their courses where race is a proxy for structural racism
    • Include one lecture on topics of racism and public health in at least one core course for Masters and doctoral students (tentative courses are BIOS 580, BIOS 780R, BIOS 777)
    • Encourage simple pedagogical improvements so coursework is more equitable for students of different backgrounds, learning styles
    • Discussion on admissions (including the utility of proxy indicators of academic success, bias in the GRE, implementation of equity)
    • Broader conversations about equity in Masters and doctoral programs
    • Increase awareness of DEI for faculty and staff through increased exposure to DEI concerns/concepts (including formal training, brief best-practice reports led by DEI Committee members, etc.)
    • Other activities as needed to help increase equity and inclusion

Executive MPH (EMPH)

Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Committee Purpose: Guide DEI priorities within the EMPH Program

Departmental Initiatives:

The Executive MPH department has shared a climate survey as part of its annual student experience survey. They are also in the process of developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, including program administration, faculty and students, to guide priorities within the EMPH Program. Please contact Moose Alperin, Director of the EMPH program, or Laurie Gaydos, Deputy Director, for more information.

Epidemiology Department (EPI) 

Tim Lash, tlash@emory.edu 

Departmental Initiatives: 

  • Created an ad hoc curriculum committee to develop new competencies for both the MPH and PhD curriculums. This work will assure that all students achieve competencies in understanding racism as a public health crisis. Goal is to complete competency development and implementation for students matriculating in Fall 2021.
  • Developed and delivered new lectures on race and racism in relation to public health in EPI530 (required for all 1st year MPH/MSPH students in EPI) and EPI550 (required for all 2nd year MPH/MSPH students in EPI). An additional new lecture on use of race in prediction models will be delivered towards the end of the fall semester in EPI530.
  • EPI leadership group is researching best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion committees operating at the level of academic departments. EPI committee will have a clear charge, objectives, and metrics of success, with representation from students, staff and faculty. We aim for this committee to begin its work by the end of the fall semester, 2020.
  • EPI leadership has held ongoing and productive conversations with MPH/MSPH and PhD student groups to inform departmental actions. In addition to topics described here, additional topics have included admissions, faculty recruitment, faculty unconscious bias training, and others.
  • EPI students and faculty created a student group to provide masks and hand sanitizer at BLM marches and protests with the support of the Dean’s office.
  • Rollins Day On initiative launched by EPI students with support from EPI faculty (and others).

Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health (EH)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee

Matthew Freeman, matthew.freeman@emory.edu

Departmental Initiatives:

  • The Environmental Health Call to Action was formed by PhD students in mid 2020 to support department-wide action, advocacy, and engagement on anti-racism and diversity and inclusion in the EHS PhD program and GDEH department. They hold biweekly calls with departmental stakeholders to push for short and long-term departmental action including updating website language; creating student resources; increasing community engagement and research; strengthening the pipeline from HBCUs; ensuring diversity in speakers; improving faculty and student recruitment and retainment; reviewing office culture/practices to promote safe spaces, etc.
  • DEI Steering Committee formed in August 2020, with representation from faculty, research and administrative staff, MPH and PhD students, and alum to support institutionalizing changes to departmental culture, training and mentorship, pedagogy and curriculum, and research.
  • 2020 Departmental-wide reading that will be discussed: Ibram Kendi – How to be an Antiracist
  • Commitment for diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism training by faculty and recommended trainings for staff and students prior to start of school 
  • Encouraging diversity of readings and curriculum revisions for upcoming courses, including adding a social determinants of health and environmental justice reframing of Introduction to Environmental Health
  • Search committee developing a plan to increase diversity in applications for ongoing search

Health Policy & Management (HPM)

HPM DEI Committee

Committee Purpose: In general, this Committee will work to foster and build an academic community where all members are able to thrive and to enhance our scholarly mission to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes in underserved populations. HPM recognizes that both institutional change and individual efforts will be required to advance this shared mission, and the HPM DEI Committee will be an essential actor in supporting these efforts. 

Departmental Initiatives:

The HPM DEI Committee is composed of representatives from HPM’s primary stakeholder groups – faculty, students (Master’s and Ph.D.), and staff (research and administrative) – who serve as liaisons between these groups and the Committee and support the Committee’s different efforts.  We considered it important to convene a full committee before deciding on departmental priorities. Over the last few weeks, the Committee has launched and completed elections for the non-faculty committee positions. As of this week, we have finalized the composition of the committee.

The agenda for the next meeting will be to identify priorities for the committee. In the meantime, we have started to collect DEI-relevant background and training materials, covering a variety of topics, including equitable hiring and mentoring practices, inclusive pedagogy, and anti-racism strategies. 

 Progress and Updates subheading

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

Dr. Joanne McGriff selected as inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Joanne will devote 50 percent of her time toward leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Rollins by supporting a culture of inclusivity and ensuring attention is paid to equity and diversity in the selection of faculty, staff, and students. She will assist RSPH in addressing concerns surfaced by several students regarding implicit bias and fostering a more equitable anti-racist environment.

More specifically, she will advise faculty search committees; lead the work of the Community and Diversity Committee; develop and execute a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan at Rollins; work to ensure diverse student selection and recruitment efforts; assist in supporting inclusive teaching practices; serve as a liaison to the central university on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and measure Rollins’ progress on these efforts through regular data collection and reporting.

Joanne will continue as research assistant professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health and as a core faculty member in the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). Joanne joined Emory in 2012 and has been a member of our faculty since 2015. Her research primarily focuses on WASH-related issues, particularly in health care settings in low-income countries.

Mental Health Resources

RSPH staff were part of conversations to launch Timely MD/Talk Now, two new university-contracted resources to promote student mental health and wellbeing. Up to 40% of Timely MD counselors are POC and students can select in advance who they want to speak with if they have a preference. CAPS and Timely MD will each offer up to 12 individual counseling sessions per year. Timely MD counseling expands services to students who are out of state. CAPS is also offering support groups for Black students and BIPOC students and has partnered with the Office of Race to offer a number of workshops on social justice and activism related topics. CAPS services are undergirded by a social justice framework.  While there was a demand to offer counseling services to recent alumni, services post-graduation are not feasible because services are limited to enrolled students as they are the only population covered by the university’s liability insurance.

Rollins Takes Action 2020 Event Series

Guided by Dr. Carmen Marsit, seven events have occurred in this series so far. On September 11, RSPH presented Race, Racism, and Health.  And, on September 24, the topic was Environmental Disparities and COVID-19: Contribution and Consequences. Past events can be found here: https://sph.emory.edu/news/associations/category-community.html

Community and Diversity Committee, Training Subcommittee – Book Discussions

The training subcommittee of the Community and Diversity Committee is planning book discussions to be facilitated by POC from the Emory community:

  • October 27, 3:15-4:30 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

Diversifying vendors for food service and catering at student events

RSPH personnel initiated conversations with Emory Contract Management regarding the diversity of vendors in America To Go (ATG), the online catering portal required for student events. Neither the federal government nor most supplier enhancing database software systems capture the actual race of the business owner. Currently Emory asks if the firm identifies as a small or diverse business.  Emory is exploring whether they could notate what businesses self-identify as “diverse” in ATG.

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