Introducing the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism (IDEA) Graduate Fellowship at Dornsife
December 16, 2020
The Dornsife School of Public Health is proud to introduce the first cohort of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism (IDEA) Graduate Fellows beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year.
A crucial step in Dornsife’s Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism is the development of a formal process for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) graduate students to be involved in the school's anti-racism efforts and be provided financial compensation and recognition for their valuable contributions to this work at the school.
IDEA Fellows will be engaged in a range of activities at Dornsife, all of which are aimed at promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism. Each fellow will have a primary area of emphasis that they select such as anti-racist curriculum development, student activities and affinity group programming, data gathering or survey development/survey analysis, and creating initiatives to support and enhance diversity and anti-racist training.
The fellows will work closely with Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Faculty Development Scarlett Bellamy; Dean Ana Diez Roux; Assistant Dean of Students and Student Affairs Phi Nguyen; and other faculty and staff to develop, implement and/or evaluate Dornsife’s initiatives in their area of emphasis. Additionally, IDEA Fellows are members of the school’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Implementation team.
"I am excited to work with the IDEA Fellows, who continually bring an energy and perspective to this important work that has been invaluable," said Bellamy. "I am confident that their contributions will continue to enlighten and make our school’s anti-racism work so much better."
The Development of The Fellowship
The proposal of the IDEA fellowship arose from Dornsife students Samantha Rivera Joseph, MPH, PhD candidate at Dornsife, Idris T. Robinson, MPH, Director in the Office of Global Engagement at Drexel University and DrPH candidate at Dornsife, and Tiffany Eaton, MPH, DrPH candidate and graduate research fellow at Dornsife. They took action throughout the year of 2020 to propose anti-racism actions at the university, school, and department levels and were not compensated for their labor due to stipulations on how doctoral stipends work at the university.
To prevent this inequity from happening in the future, a working group of doctoral students called Drexel Voices and Allies, which includes Rivera Joseph, Robinson, Eaton, and the Public Health Doctoral Student Advisory Group (PhDSAG) and its leaders, including Katie Nelson, MPH, PhD candidate, met and drafted a proposal for the immediate creation of a financial mechanism to reimburse BIPOC students for their work on anti-racism efforts at Dornsife.
The school and its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force embraced the IDEA fellowship proposal and worked with Drexel Voices and Allies and PhDSAG to organize the logistics, secure funding, and navigate the university’s procedures and policies.
“We were so happy to receive this proposal from the students and immediately began work to make it a reality. The IDEA fellows are already bringing energy, great ideas, and true commitment to all our anti-racism work,” said Dean Diez Roux.
"BIPOC students often feel obligated because of a natural sense of self-preservation to be active in racial justice efforts,” said Rivera Joseph. “Predominately white institutions often take advantage of this reality and expect students to be grateful for the opportunity to be heard but are not willing to compensate us for the work. The IDEA fellowship is a great start to shift this culture of invisible labor, while also investing in future BIPOC leaders."
Recruitment for the fellowship began in November 2020 thanks to their efforts.
“Students of color give freely their time to push forward anti-racist initiatives that benefit Dornsife and their input is crucial; however, their work is invisible,” said Nelson. “This fellowship is an important step forward to establish a formal mechanism for financial reimbursement and official recognition of the expertise of students of color.”
2020-21 IDEA Graduate Fellows
Hometown: Collegeville, PA
Program: MPH, Health Management and Policy
Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife due to its location within Philadelphia. Growing up in Southeastern PA, I have a vested interest in the health outcomes of individuals living within Philadelphia, and its surrounding communities.
Focus as an IDEA fellow: My areas of focus are centered on increasing institutional support measures for Black students and other students of color within Dornsife. Some of these measures include career building resources & tools, strengthening interpersonal connections through different initiatives, leadership engagement opportunities, and highlighting different research & project efforts conducted by students of color.
Hometown: Moorestown, NJ
Program: MPH, Community Health and Prevention
Why I chose Dornsife: While looking at public health programs in the Philadelphia area, it was Dornsife’s reputation that initially caught my attention. I wanted to attend a school that would allow me to learn more about what impacts health outcomes and fuels health disparities. After meeting with the previous director of admissions, I realized Dornsife would be a good place for me to get my degree compared to other programs in the area. Working with faculty, students and staff has only solidified this after I started the program and in recently completing it.
Focus as an IDEA fellow: I am learning that I have a passion for evidence-based research. Entering into this fellowship I was on a team that crafted and disseminated the climate survey at Dornsife. Currently, I am working on the planning and development of the Center on Racism and Health. Also, I am working with the other fellows on the departmental and school-wide efforts around IDEA initiatives.
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Program: MPH, Epidemiology
Why I chose Dornsife: I chose Dornsife because I wanted to stay in Philadelphia and remain connected to the work I started in AmeriCorps, where I have had the opportunity to build partnerships with many community leaders who have done amazing work in the lives of the students and families in Philadelphia. Dornsife has the unique position of training the next generation of public health leaders while having deep roots in the community.
Focus as an IDEA fellow: My focus during this fellowship will be on course restructuring and curriculum and on the hiring processes of faculty.
Laneisha (Laney) Sullivan
Hometown: Paterson, NJ
Program: MPH, Health Management and Policy (Management concentration)
Why I chose Dornsife: As a Drexel alumna, I’m well aware of the opportunities and networking connections this university has to offer. I chose to continue my graduate studies at Drexel with the Dornsife School of Public Health because the program holds national weight. Faculty members are comprised of some of Philadelphia’s most influential professionals with solid backgrounds in my areas of interest such as clinical health, policy, and health management. Furthermore, faculty and administration actively listen and dedicate time and resources to meet the needs of students, hence my position on this IDEA team. For me, it was important for me to choose a program where I felt my voice would be heard as well as my academic needs met.
Focus as an IDEA fellow: For my fellowship, I will focus my efforts on the hiring processes of faculty and providing faculty support/resources. Working alongside my dedicated team, we strive to support its 2020 anti-racism action plan. Our efforts will further expand our school’s endeavors in promoting a strong sense of culture, diversity, inclusion, and equity in all current and future academic/extra-curricular activities.
Learn more about the Fellowship
Learn more about Dornsife's Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism