University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: SPH Diversity Update October 2016

SPH Diversity Update October 2016


From Interim Dean Joel Kaufman and the SPH Diversity Committee (Oct. 10, 2016)

Dear students, staff and faculty:

Last spring, many of you engaged in heartfelt discussions on race, equity and privilege at the University and the School of Public Health. Activist groups issued demands, more than 250 people attended an all-School forum, and work groups were formed under the auspices of the School’s Diversity Committee. We heard you loud and clear, and we acknowledge there is much more work to be done.

This fall, we are pleased to announce the hiring of an external consultant to assist the School in developing a five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. We are excited to be working with SPH alumna Tracy Hilliard (PhD, MPH) and her team at ORS Impact. Tracy is known for her track record in strategic planning and diversity. She will lead a team that will conduct a thorough needs assessment this fall, followed by a participatory strategic planning process in winter. We know we need to include as many voices as possible and look forward to your participation. The ultimate plan will tie in to the University’s overall Diversity Blueprint and will be shared with the entire SPH community.

In the meantime, we are taking other actions to improve our culture and climate around these issues:

  • Senior leaders of the School – including chairs, assistant deans and other key administrators – will take part in training designed to boost their racial literacy.
  • We’ve earmarked $120,000 in additional funds to support scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • A new Graduate Student Assistantship has been created to support the Diversity Committee. Applications are being accepted through Oct. 14.
  • Work groups on curriculum, training and faculty diversity have continued to meet throughout the summer.  For updates and more information about how to get involved, please visit the SPH Diversity page.

We encourage you to visit the University’s Race and Equity Initiative website, where the School also has a profile page. The R&EI site includes University-wide updates and information about upcoming lectures and discussions, such as a year-long conversation on power and privilege.

Finally, we’d like to thank Jeanette James, Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Projects, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, for her invaluable assistance over the last few months.

We look forward to working together this fall to make this a more inclusive and diverse School.

Joel and the SPH Diversity Committee