Commitment to Diversity

The University of Washington School of Public Health is committed to developing a more diverse and culturally competent faculty, staff, and student body in order to better serve communities in our region and beyond. Our commitment to diversity is supported by the UW Board of Regents.

Underlying all public health research and training activities is an appreciation of the effect that cultural and socioeconomic diversity have on the health of communities. There must be an understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable public health to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. We recognize that cultural and sociodemographic diversity enriches the process of discovery by engendering multiple modes of thinking about problems and communicating ideas. Opportunities for enrichment accrue to those institutions that successfully cultivate diversity within their educational, research, and outreach activities. Schools that fail to achieve and maintain a diverse constituency of students, faculty, and staff risk becoming increasingly removed from leading-edge educational and research opportunities in public health and losing relevance in their communities.

All regions of the country, including the Pacific Northwest, are becoming more diverse in racial and ethnic makeup. As the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes continues to grow, policymakers and the general public increasingly look to health professional schools to address these urgent and unacceptable circumstances. Because we are one of the few schools of public health in the Northwest, it is particularly important for us to be up to the challenge.

Diversity Committee

The School of Public Health Diversity Committee is a school-wide governing body that works to foster a diverse, inclusive, engaging, challenging, and supportive social, intellectual, and scholarly learning environment that is open to diverse beliefs, values, ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds.

The current charge of the School of Public Health Diversity Committee is to develop and advocate for policies and initiatives that will improve the diversity of the SPH community.  The Committee reports to the Dean of the School of Public Health and is responsible for mobilizing students, staff, and faculty to support and implement such policies and initiatives.  Further, the Committee will establish mechanisms to monitor, measure progress, and promote accountability towards these goals.

Consistent with the SPH Strategic Plan 2012-2020, the Committee will focus on the following priorities:

  • Curricula: In collaboration with the SPH Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, strengthen diversity within the school’s curricula, including material and methodologies for understanding and addressing socioeconomic status, class, race, and other social determinants of health.
  • Faculty, Staff and Student Recruitment and Retention: Develop and implement recruitment policies and measurable goals that ensure searches produce a diverse applicant pools.  Develop and implement initiatives for mentoring and retention of underrepresented minority faculty, staff and students.
  • Climate: Work to create and sustain a welcoming climate for diversity.  Develop and implement activities including ongoing professional development for faculty and staff so that they can provide such a climate for students and for each other, and a built environment that is welcoming and accessible for all people and cultures.