Diversity & Inclusion

Our Commitment

The School of Public Health commits to diversity, inclusion, and equity in all that we do. These values are fundamental to what we seek to achieve for the public’s health: a diverse professional and scientific workforce; research excellence that benefits all; and engagement with communities that shapes our research and learning.

We strive for diversity among our students, staff, and faculty and for a respectful and inclusive climate that’s open and welcoming to all. We foster a community that learns from all that makes us diverse — race, gender identity, religion, culture, and social status, to name a few. These are sources of strength that enrich us all. When we fall short of our aspirations, we will always seek to do better as a community of learning. –John Finnegan, Professor & Dean

Research & Practice

Diversity and inclusion are a vital component of health equity, a major research focus. As we examine the role of mental health in communities and explore food access (to name just two research areas), the values and learnings in the teachings of diversity play a key role.

The Health Equity Work Group is an active student and faculty group within our school that aims to give greater visibility to health disparities research and to ensure that students are well-equipped to work in a diverse society.

Our school-wide group D.E.A.L.T (Diversity and  Equity Action Leadership Team) is a mix of faculty, staff, and students who create School of Public Health-specific initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion.

The Student Body

Our students vary by program, because each program attracts students with specific and personal goals. Whether you’re pursuing an online degree, completing a field experience, or working toward getting your PhD, you will interact with different types of students across the program, enriching learning and fostering collaboration.

By the Numbers

Students of color: 18 percent
International students: 15 percent
Average age: 29 years old
Sex: 70% identify as female; 30% identify as male.

Twin Cities Community

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is a diverse community. Twenty-five percent of the Twin Cities population are people of color, creating an environment rich in cultural opportunities.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are longstanding magnets for immigrant groups and much of our work at the School of Public Health centers around these communities. According to Compass Minnesota, the state’s foreign-born population is increasing faster than the national average with people from Mexico, India, and Somalia making up three of Minnesota’s fastest-growing immigrant groups in the past decade.

Our students and faculty become immersed in these communities through fieldwork and research, including work at churches with the historically African-American community in North Minneapolis and the student-run Phillips Neighborhood Clinic which serves large Native American and Latino communities.

In 2012, an amendment that would have banned gay marriage was voted down in our state,

clearing the way for our legislature to pass Marriage Equality in 2013. The Twin Cities are often cited for being one of the most LGBTQ friendly areas in the country. In 2013 and 2014, Campus Pride named University of Minnesota-Twin Cities one of the most LGBT-friendly campuses in the nation.

With nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the area, the Twin Cities are becoming a magnet for millennials, attracting young professionals from across the country.

Students at Research Day
Marriage Equality Rally
Ronaldo Chavez and Dean Finnegan
Group of students at graduation
Carrie Henning Smith at graduation
Sherlonda Clarke and student Cesar Dominguez
Dancers at Taste Diversity event


Community of Scholars Program: This program aims to create an institutional environment that supports the academic and professional success of graduate students who have historically been underrepresented.

Disability Resource Center: Promotes access and equity for students with disabilities at the University of Minnesota.

GLBTA Programs Office: Dedicated to improving campus climate for the University of Minnesota by developing and supporting more inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality.

Graduate Student Organizations: Gives the opportunity to network and build a supportive community by becoming an active member in a graduate student organization.

International Student and Scholar Services: ISSS helps international students and scholars to accomplish the goals that brought them to the University. Services include counseling, advising, visa regulation advising, career services, tax return information, and more.

Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence: Works to foster and enrich a multicultural understanding among all members of the University community.

Office for Diversity in Graduate Education: Coordinates and leads the University’s initiatives in the recruitment, funding, retention, and graduation of diverse graduate and professional students.

Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action: Ensures that all University community members uphold federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, as well as University equal opportunity policies.

Office for Equity and Diversity: Responsible for the University’s equity and diversity initiatives and programs, and for infusing the core values of equity and diversity into all aspects of teaching, learning, research, service, and outreach.

Student Conflict Resolution Center: Offers formal and informal conflict resolution services to resolve students’ University-based problems and concerns.

Student Unions & Activities: Throughout the University, student groups abound to help students foster community, allowing anyone to get involved and enhance their social, educational, and cultural environment at the University of Minnesota. Search their guide to find a student group right for you.

University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy: Policy on Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action.

Women’s Center: Advances equity for women students, staff, faculty, and alumni. The Women’s Center increases connections for women’s success, cultivates socially responsible leaders, and advocates for organizational culture change toward excellence for all.