Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards Dornsife Grant to Transform Academia for Equity
March 31, 2022
With new support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) will expand its work to identify and challenge systems that have hindered the pace and innovation of health equity research.
The foundation has awarded the DSPH a $300,000 grant to support its scholars and their research, as part of RWJF’s Transforming Academia for Equity program.
With this support, DSPH is sustaining and creating the structures, policies, and culture changes needed to ensure both the academic success of diverse scholars and the production of scientific knowledge relevant to eliminating health inequities. From its inception 25 years ago, DSPH has a longstanding commitment to equity, diversity, and social justice as critical to improving population health.
“The timing of this opportunity was perfectly aligned with a number of similarly themed initiatives at various stages of implementation, making Dornsife a great fit. I am so excited to be able to bring this work to our School,” said Scarlett Bellamy, ScD, Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at DSPH.
Bellamy is leading this project with Reneé H. Moore, PhD, Research Professor, Director of the Biostatistics Scientific Collaboration Center (BSC), and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at DSPH.
DSPH will use the TAE funding to assess barriers/facilitators to advancing its health equity research, with a special focus on the work and career advancement of Black, Indigenous and other faculty of color, paying special attention to history and institutional context. It will develop and implement a plan to address these barriers and support facilitators of change, as well as participating in peer-learning communities with other funded organizations.
“I am so proud that our School has received this award. It is a testament to all the work that we have already done to advance health equity but also allows us to go further, especially to ensure that we are creating the inclusive systems and environments that are critical to producing valid and socially impactful knowledge,” said Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dana and David Dornsife Dean at DSPH.
The TAE program grant leverages the school’s Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism which was launched in the summer of 2020.
It is also highly synergistic and complementary to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) award granted to DSPH and the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University in October 2021. FIRST is a novel initiative launched by NIH with the goals of enhancing and maintaining cultures of inclusive excellence in the health research community and supporting the career development of 12 early-career, diverse faculty. Drexel is one of six institutions nationwide receiving this funding and is the sole recipient in Pennsylvania.
For more information on the program, visit RWJF’s Transforming Academia for Equity webpage.