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Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism

Throughout the school's history, the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) has been dedicated to advancing health and human rights, social justice, and health equity. Underlying each of these values has been a commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence.

Within Drexel University, DSPH has been recognized as one of the more diverse schools in the University. Despite this reputation, we recognize that being an inclusive and diverse organization is an ongoing undertaking which requires focus, engagement, data and a strategic direction.

In addition, faculty, staff and students at DSPH recognize the critical effects of racism on the health of Black people, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC) and are committed not only to addressing racism as a public health threat (through research, practice and training) but also to eliminating racism in all School practices and policies.

Table of Contents:

2022 Progress Report

Building upon the core founding principles, the Dornsife School of Public Health’s (DSPH)  Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Antiracism, co-created by the school community—students, staff and faculty—and implemented in July 2020, aims to accelerate, support, and expand the School’s efforts to promote a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity and to promote antiracism in all activities.

The plan integrates key recommendations from the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and captured in the School’s Diversity and Inclusion statement.

Below we highlight a few key activities that have either been completed, are in progress, or our plans for sustainability for each of the four AAP themes:

  • Academic Programming: Ensure values of diversity and inclusion are highlighted in academic programming; Ensure understanding of the ways structural racism and social injustice affect health
  • Inclusivity & Antiracism: Strive to continuously create a culture and environment that actively promotes inclusivity and antiracism
  • Research, Practice, Partnerships: Support and grow research, practice identifying the effects of racism on health and the drivers of health inequities; Expand partnerships with organizations that have antiracist agendas
  • Maximize Racial Diversity (faculty, staff, students): Supporting career advancement of diverse faculty, staff and students

The original language describing each of the four themes is included below in italic print.

Dornsife Antiracism Action Plan
View full-size graphic (pdf)

A. Academic Programming

Ensuring that the values of diversity and inclusion are appropriately highlighted in our academic programming is critical to the training of our students. We must also ensure that students obtain appropriate understanding of the critical ways in which structural racism and social injustice affect health, in particular the health of Black people, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC) and the implications for public health practice and policy. As part of this action plan the School will:

  1. Agree on core foundational knowledge and skills that all students graduating from our School must have. Review our curriculum, identify gaps, and implement changes needed to adequately address the topics of diversity, inclusion, racism and social justice in our academic programs.
  2. Provide a rich set of antiracism resources with special relevance to academic settings through a dedicated public webpage.
  3. Dedicate the 2020-21 Mann Lecture and the Population Health Spotlight series to the theme of “Structural racism and health: evidence and action” and ensure continued coverage of antiracism in subsequent School seminar series.
  4. Enrich the antiracism, diversity and inclusion content of Student Orientation via special readings and activities.
  5. Enrich diversity and inclusion content in student-centered, co-curricular events and programs.

Activities completed

Updated a university diversity and multiculturalism course list to accurately include courses from our school, which also served as an occasion to inventory and discuss antiracist aspects of our courses (classified based on catalogue description as relevant to the upstream causes, quantification, or strategies to reduce health inequities).

Partnered with University Library to development of a LibGuide on AntiRacist Pedagogy, which includes a dedicated section for public health.

Activities in progress

Programs throughout the school are sharing with the Curriculum and Assessment Committee (CAC) their antiracism learning priorities and mapping those to assessments. Based on these submissions, a report will be drafted to articulate the commonalities and core foundational knowledge and skills that span our school’s several disciplines and program types.

Plan for sustainability

Regular assessment of programs by CAC prompting the submission team and CAC discussants to reflect on antiracist learning priorities and on aspects of course design and delivery ensuring that they align with an inclusive learning environment and with antiracist goals.

B. Inclusivity and Antiracism

The School must strive to continuously create culture and environment that actively promotes inclusivity and antiracism. As part of this action plan the School will:

  1. Conduct a climate survey in the fall 2020 and regularly thereafter, identify needs related to climate and antiracism, and develop appropriate actions in response.
  2. Develop a strategy for conducting regular trainings for faculty, staff, and students on topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, and creation of safe spaces.
  3. Develop a strategy to conduct School-wide conversations on antiracism in order to enrich our understanding and actions, including sessions facilitated by outside partners as appropriate.
  4. Work with the University to ensure that reports of bias incidents are promptly followed up on in ways that are transparent and accountable.

Activities completed

DSPH’s Antiracism Taskforce, consisting primarily of the School’s leadership team completed a series of facilitated trainings with outside experts. The trainings focused on cultivating a sense of inclusion and belonging at our school.

Additionally, we have strategically partnered with Drexel’s Teaching and Learning Center to offer several antiracism in pedagogy DSPH trainings in the 2021-22 AY.

Activities in progress

Identify pedagogy and behavioral upskilling on key topics (e.g., microaggression, implicit bias mitigation strategies, allyship, upstanding, managing difficult conversations) opportunities for AY 2022-23. Ideally, there will be at least 1-2 offerings per AY in the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters. The audience will be appropriately selected, prioritizing opportunities where all members of our School community can learn together (faculty, staff, students).

Pursue continued opportunities to partner with Drexel’s Teaching and Learning Center to bring antiracist and inclusive pedagogy trainings directly to DSPH (faculty + postdocs), in addition to University-wide offerings.

Plan for sustainability

Annually, faculty must complete at least two DEI-related trainings, including one training module via the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. A curated list of options has been created and will be reviewed and updated annually. Additionally, we will schedule an annual community event to creatively explore these complex topics (e.g., Playback Improv Theater Company in 2022).

Annually facilitate School-wide engagement in 20 Day Antiracism Challenge of Ruth Shim – a structured, asynchronous, self-guided reflective exercise.

C. Research, Practice, and Partnerships

The School will continue to support and grow research and practice that focuses on identifying the critical effects of racism on health and the drivers of health inequities experienced by BIPOC. We will also expand School partnerships with community organizations that have antiracist agendas and support the elimination of health inequities for BIPOC.

  1. Conduct an assessment of research in order to determine the extent to which the impact of racism on health and the inequities experienced by BIPOC are adequately included.
  2. Develop a strategy for supporting research focused on antiracism, and the elimination of inequities experienced by BIPOC.
  3. Conduct an assessment of practice and DSPH partnerships in order to determine the extent to which the impact of racism on health and the inequities experienced by BIPOC are adequately included.
  4. Develop a strategy for supporting practice and partnerships focused on antiracism, and the elimination of inequities experienced by BIPOC.

Activities completed

Antiracism research activities have been queried as part of faculty annual review. We developed an internal report that describes types of antiracism and health equity research conducted by DSPH faculty. Additionally, we initiated a seminar series for graduate students focused on antiracism, racial equity, and race/health disparities research.

Secured a $6 million dollar gift to launch the Ubuntu Center of Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity, and hire two faculty focused on antiracism work.

Secured (with the College of Nursing and Health Professions) a $14 million grant to launch Drexel Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) focused on health equity and recruitment of faculty underrepresented in health sciences.

Activities in progress

Continue to expand partnerships that focus on BIPOC communities. Continue to expand student projects that address inequities that adversely impact BIPOC communities.

Plan for sustainability

Annual review of placement opportunities by the Director of Student Placement to ensure goals continue to be met as well as ongoing recruitment of new partners and student opportunities.

Sustain and grow Ubuntu Center.

Extend FIRST practices for faculty support to other faculty. Expand health equity and antiracism research at Dornsife leveraging FIRST.

D. Maximize Racial Diversity of Faculty, Staff, and Students

The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Report includes an assessment of School diversity and provides several important recommendations to support and increase diversity of faculty, staff, and students. As part of this action plan, we will accelerate implementation of these recommendations.

  1. Periodically characterize and report on the diversity of faculty, staff, and students. The latest diversity figures for faculty, staff, and faculty are here.
  2. Develop a comprehensive strategy to maximize and support diversity of students, including School-wide and Departmental initiatives aimed at recruitment and retention.
  3. Develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain and support the career advancement (promotion and leadership opportunities) of diverse faculty: a) Require Departmental strategic plans for diversifying faculty including identification of goals and strategies, and b) Ensure adequate operations and training of APT and search committees to identify and eliminate any structural biases.
  4. Develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain and support the career advancement of diverse staff.
  5. Assess equity in compensation for faculty and staff and address inequities.
  6. Institutionalize diversity efforts via: a) Integration of diversity efforts into update of DSPH strategic plan, and b) Consideration of diversity and inclusion issues as faculty by-laws and governance processes are revised.

Activities completed

Secured funding for the Drexel Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation Initiative (FIRST) program with focus on inclusive excellence and developed associated faculty development activities. Also secured the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Transforming Academia for Equity award with focus on developing strategies to support and promote faculty engaged in health equity research.

Developed new inclusive faculty search guidelines. These guidelines were implemented for our most recent faculty and chair searches within the following centers or departments: The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity; the FIRST program; Community Health and Prevention Department; and Health Management and Policy Department.

Launched a series of opportunities to monetarily support student engaged in School antiracism work across all goal. These include year-long Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Antiracism (IDEA) Fellowships, IDEA professional development awards and IDEA short-term project awards.

Activities in progress

Analysis of staff hiring process (e.g., examine pipeline for potential disparities from initial application to when candidates are offered a position). A similar strategy will be implemented for the faculty search and student recruitment processes.

Plan for sustainability

Development of updated policies for hiring staff and regular assessment of retention to identify problems, including planned analyses of annual faculty and staff salary analysis. A similar, regular evaluation of student funding will also be conducted. Implement strategies recommended by FIRST and Transforming Academia for Equity to support and retain diverse faculty.

Sustain IDEA student funding initiatives (Fellows, professional development and short-term project awards).


2020 Action Plan

This action plan was created in July 2020 to guide and accelerate a series of important actions intended to support and expand the School’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of diversity, inclusion and equity and to promote antiracism in all school activities. The Schools Diversity and Inclusion statement captures the School’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and antiracism. This action plan integrates the key values, principles and recommendations described by the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and captured in the DSPH Diversity and Inclusion statement enriched by additional areas of focus and activities identified by School leadership with input from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well as faculty, staff and students in June and July of 2020.

Process

A draft set of action items within different areas of focus was drafted by Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Scarlett Bellamy and Dean Ana Diez Roux in June 2020. This draft was shared with the Dean’s Executive Committee, the Executive Committee of the Faculty (ECF), the Staff Coordinating Committee (SCC), and student leaders (SGO and the Doctoral Student Association) for input. Input was and will continue to be obtained in a variety of ways including special meetings and surveys over the course of the 2020-21 academic year. This plan, incorporating input received, is also posted on the School’s intranet. This document summarizes key areas of focus and key priority actions and timelines, which will be monitored closely for accountability.

Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Scarlett Bellamy and Dean Ana Diez Roux provide general oversight of the plan, with input from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which includes faculty, staff and student members. An implementation team composed of Associate Deans, Department Chairs, the Director of Global Health, the Director of Finance and Administration, the ECF Co-Chairs, the SCC Co-Chairs and student representatives operationalize and implement the action plan and track progress via specific metrics. Leads are assigned for each component. Working groups have been convened by leads including representatives from faculty, staff and students as appropriate to refine the specific details and to operationalize and execute each component and to monitor progress. Key themes of the process will include (1) transparency and communication, (2) broad input and timeliness, and (3) metrics and accountability.

The four key areas of emphasis on the action plan are described below. We view these four areas as interrelated and with each reinforcing the others. For each area we describe the overall goal as well as a set of activities that will be undertaken as part of the action plan. The roadmap for the process of finalizing and implementing this action plan is shown below. Note that these details will be modified at the teams meet and further develop their plans. We emphasize that this action plan with its specific activities will support and promote broader reflections and dialogue within the School on what we need to do as individuals and as an institution to become firmly anti-racist. This reflection and dialogue is critical to the success of any plan.

June 2021 marked one year since the school committed to this action plan. Faculty, staff and students who have been involved in our efforts shared highlights and envisioned the work ahead in this piece, Reflecting on Dornsife’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism, dated June 30, 2021.

A. Academic Programming

Ensuring that the values of diversity and inclusion are appropriately highlighted in our academic programming is critical to the training of our students. We must also ensure that students obtain appropriate understanding of the critical ways in which structural racism and social injustice affect health, in particular the health of BIPOC, and the implications for public health practice and policy. As part of this action plan the School will:

  1. Agree on core foundational knowledge and skills that all students graduating from our School must have. Review our curriculum, identify gaps, and implement changes needed to adequately address the topics of diversity, inclusion, racism and social justice in our academic programs.
  2. Provide a rich set of antiracism resources with special relevance to academic settings through a dedicated public webpage.
  3. Dedicate the 2020-21 Mann Lecture and the Population Health Spotlight series to the theme of “Structural racism and health: evidence and action.”
  4. Enrich the antiracism, diversity and inclusion content of Student Orientation via special readings and activities.
  5. Enrich diversity and inclusion content in student-centered, co-curricular events and programs.

B. Inclusivity and Anti-Racism

The School must strive to continuously create a culture and environment that actively promotes inclusivity and anti-racism. As part of this action plan the School will:

  1. Conduct a climate survey in the fall 2020 and regularly thereafter, identify needs related to climate and antiracism, and develop appropriate actions in response.
  2. Develop a strategy for conducting regular trainings for faculty, staff and students on topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, and creation of safe spaces (including taking full advantages of existing University resources and coordinating with University efforts, and building on the recommendations of the 2019 Taskforce Report ).
  3. Develop a strategy to conduct School-wide conversations on anti-racism in order to enrich our understanding and actions, including sessions facilitated by outside partners as appropriate.
  4. Work with the University to ensure that reports of bias incidents are promptly followed up on in ways that are transparent and accountable.

C. Research, Practice, and Partnerships 

The School will continue to support and grow research and practice that focuses on identifying the critical effects of racism on health and the drivers of health inequities experienced by Black people, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC). We will also expand School partnerships with community organizations that have anti-racist agendas and support the elimination of health inequities for BIPOC.

  1. Conduct an assessment of research in order to determine the extent to which the impact of racism on health and the inequities experienced by BIPOC are adequately included.
  2. Develop a strategy for supporting research focused on anti-racism, and the elimination of inequities experienced by BIPOC.
  3. Conduct an assessment of practice and DSPH partnerships in order to determine the extent to which the impact of racism on health and the inequities experienced by BIPOC are adequately included.
  4. Develop a strategy for supporting practice and partnerships focused on anti-racism, and the elimination of inequities experienced by BIPOC.

D. Maximize Racial Diversity of Faculty, Staff, and Students

The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Report includes an assessment of School diversity and provides several important recommendations to support and increase diversity of faculty, staff, and students. As part of this action plan we will accelerate implementation of these recommendations.

  1. Periodically characterize and report on the diversity of faculty, staff and students. The latest diversity figures for faculty, staff and students are on our website.
  2. Develop a comprehensive strategy to maximize and support diversity of students, including School-wide and Departmental initiatives aimed at recruitment and retention.
  3. Develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain and support the career advancement (promotion and leadership opportunities) of diverse faculty:
    1. Require Departmental strategic plans for diversifying faculty including identification of goals and strategies.
    2. Ensure adequate operations and training of APT and search committees to identify and eliminate any structural biases.
  4. Develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain and support the career advancement of diverse staff.
  5. Assess equity in compensation for faculty and staff and address inequities.
  6. Institutionalize diversity efforts via:
    1. Integration of diversity efforts into update of DSPH strategic plan.
    2. Consideration of diversity and inclusion issues as faculty by-laws and governance processes are revised.

Roadmap

Action plan roadmap

Roadmap steps outlined above:

  1. Draft and share action plan created by Dean Ana Diez Roux and Scarlett Bellamy, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
  2. Collect input from Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  3. Collect input from faculty, staff, and students via meetings, surveys, and postings
  4. Implementation team revises plan, identifies leads for each component, and creates timeline and metrics
  5. Post and share revised plan with faculty, staff, and students for additional input
  6. Begin implementation in fall 2020 (gathering feedback from students, staff, and faculty on progress)
  7. Evaluate implementation in fall 2021

Download a PDF of the Action Plan