Public Health Scholarship at Drexel Receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Support

With new support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health will expand its work to identify, study and challenge the health effects of racism and exclusion throughout our nation’s history. The foundation has awarded the Dornsife School a $300,000 grant to support its scholars their research, as part of Robert Wood Johnson’s Transforming Academia for Equity program.

With this support, the Dornsife School will continue to create 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 in society. From its inception 25 years ago, the Dornife School 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, a professor and associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Dornsife School, who is leading this project with Reneé H. Moore, PhD, a research professor, director of Dornsife’s Biostatistics Scientific Collaboration Center; and director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Dornsife School.

The Dornsife School 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 participate in peer-learning communities with other funded organizations.

“I am so proud that our School has received this award,” said Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, Dana and David Dornsife Dean at the Dornsife School of Public Health. “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,”

 The TAE program grant will also build on the school’s Action Plan to Enhance Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Anti-Racism, which was launched in the summer of 2020. It also complements the School’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) grant from the National Institutes of Health, which it received, along with the College of Nursing and Health Professions, 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 to receive this funding and is the sole recipient in Pennsylvania.

For more information on the program, visit RWJF’s TAE webpage.