Updates on Equity Diversity and Inclusion October 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Greetings to the SPH Community,

Welcome to 2018-2019 school year!  I have been here about 6 months, and want to thank the entire SPH community for welcoming me and for keeping the doors open for the work we need to do.  Here are a few things we’ve been up to in the equity, diversity and inclusion arena.


Last May we sponsored three SPH students representing the Students of Color Affinity Group (SOCAG) to attend the National Conference on Race and Equity in New Orleans to present a workshop on “Operationalizing Resilience through the Development of Affinity Groups in Predominantly White Spaces.” The students, Courtney Jackson, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Nupoor Kulkami, and their session were well attended and received lots of great feedback from attendees.  The Office of the Dean set aside a small amount of travel funds available last year to assist students who were presenting abstracts at a conference, especially for topics related to public health, health equity, diversity and inclusion.  The School has multiple sources of funding available for student travel.  Please contact me at vg@uw.edu if you need information or have questions about how to apply for travel funding.

The 2018 Summer Health Professions Education Program was completed at the end of July.  Sara Mackenzie, Juanita Ricks, Cathea Carey, Jennae Carpio, Sonia Duckworth and myself were able to spend lots of time with 80 potential future SPH graduate students.  We engaged them in wellness activities as well as community needs assessments as a way to expose them to public health.   SHPEP is an incredible opportunity for college students to know more about public health, medicine and dentistry.  The summer serves as just the beginning of a long-term relationship. We hope to continue to engage with and reach out to this summer’s alumni through local events, sharing public health articles, and helping them advance in their academic and career goals.  We are always looking for mentors and faculty to work with the students, so please let us know if you are interested in being a part of this program next year!

Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee is now the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee or EDI Committee!  This name change received committee approval on September 17 to better reflect the work of the committee.  Dr. Sarah Benki-Nugent has graciously agreed to continue to serve as co-chair of the committee until December.  We are rolling out a Diversity Strategic Action Plan to help us identify our goals, align our activities with our EDI goals, and identify potential gaps in our efforts.  The Diversity Committee had a retreat on September 17 to work on the Diversity Strategic Action Plan.  Dean Hilary Godwin joined us for lunch and about 28 departmental members of the Diversity Committee had an opportunity to get to know the dean informally.  Each department has EDI resources and a committee as well.  If you are interested in being involved in EDI, please reach out to your departmental EDI Committee Chairs (email me if you don’t know who these folks are) so you can be signed up on their listserv. 


On August 28 a small group of faculty of color gathered together over dinner at Simply Soulful Café (a plug for this Black-owned business in the Madison Park area, it was great!)  It was a much needed time to get to know each other, reconnect and reiterate our support for one another.  We hope to be doing this quarterly for faculty of color and other faculty from marginalized backgrounds.  This group will continue to gather and grow, so please let me know if you are interested in attending.  Our next event is a faculty of color dinner with the Dean on Oct. 21

Faculty and Staff

The Dean’s Office is excited to provide more opportunities for training and professional development for all new faculty and staff in the next few weeks.  I am working with all the departments and programs to develop content and implementation for required training for all new incoming folks.  This is still in development. Conversations are happening with Department Chairs and leadership on how to best implement it and what type of content is most useful.  More to come….

Overarching themes from the 2018 climate survey were released at the Oct. 9 Town Hall, and a link to results will be shared with all students, staff and faculty.

We want to give a big kudos to the Department of Global Health for receiving a Diversity Seed Grant from OMAD and the Department of Epidemiology for receiving a Resilience Grant!  We are happy to provide matching seed grants to these two grantees to help further their equity work.  Congratulations!

 Victoria Gardner, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion