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

Throughout its 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.

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, Inclusion and Faculty Development 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 July, August and September 2020.  This plan, incorporating input received, will also be 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, Inclusion and Faculty Development Scarlett Bellamy and Dean Ana Diez Roux will 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 will operationalize and implement the action plan and track progress via specific metrics. Leads have been assigned for each component. Working groups will be 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.

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, Inclusion and Faculty Development
  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 20201 

Download a PDF of the Action Plan