“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde 

Welcome. Our team serves as the central coordinators of School of Public Health (SPH) diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. We are committed to centering the marginalized and helping historically oppressed communities become healthier. We serve the SPH community in providing education, advocacy, planning, and support in the areas of DEI. We help SPH realize and operationalize school values.

When we talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at SPH, these are the common definitions we use.

Who We Are

Lauren L. Jones
Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Read more about Lauren

Lauren Jones is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Lauren has worked at SPH since 2017. She believes in speaking truth to power and centering the marginalized. Lauren provides leadership and oversight for the DEI activities across the school, including strategic planning and implementation, training, and programming. She helps the school to operationalize its values by working with administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. She has a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, a master’s degree from Old Dominion University, and is working on a PhD at the University of Minnesota. Lauren is a native Chicagoan and currently lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Jinx.

Gayle Smaller Jr.
Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Read more about Gayle

Gayle received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Gayle was born in Minneapolis and is the first in his family to receive a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree. Prior to coming to the U of M, Gayle served at Augsburg University, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, most recently, as an academic advisor in the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Program in the U of M College of Liberal Arts here. Gayle is passionate about equity, justice and the development and utilization of human potential. You can sometimes find him performing poems or trying to inspire someone to be their best self.

Notes on Antiracism, Justice & Equity

Includes thought-provoking articles, profiles, resources, and events at the school.

Sign up to receive the monthly newsletter

What We Do

  • Training and facilitation for faculty, staff, and students on DEI topics
  • Consulting with units and individuals on issues related to DEI
  • Coordinating events that focus on issues of justice, equity, advocacy, and liberation
  • Providing advocacy and support for those with concerns of bias and discrimination
  • Assessing and consulting for the purposes of climate change
  • Developing and implementing policy and procedures related to DEI

SPH DEI Groups

Groups & Committees

  • Action Alignment Team
    The SPH diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) Action Alignment Team is the central organizing group for diversity, equity, and inclusion in SPH.
  • Diversity Network
    Diversity Network is an SPH community-building student organization that focuses on cultivating personal and professional development in DEI. This is an inclusive space that brings together students to engage in conversation, vent, and learn from each other. Additionally, Diversity Network is involved in social programming and collaboration with the SPH Student Senate to improve the student experience.
  • Strategic DEI Planning Committee

Education & Research

  • Health Equity Work Group
    The mission of the SPH Health Equity Work Group is to give greater visibility to health inequalities research at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and nationally; develop collaborations with faculty and community partners; and ensure SPH students are well trained to work in a diverse society.
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement