Action + Accountability

By Lauren Eldridge | January 25, 2022

Originally published in the January issue of the Notes on Antiracism, Justice, and Equity newsletter.

Lauren Jones
Lauren Jones

Six months ago, we launched our Strategic Plan for Antiracism — a five-year roadmap for how we will advance antiracism and equity in our school. By itself, the plan is merely words. Achieving the goals we set forth requires action and accountability.

The structural change we are working toward takes time, and I’m proud of our collective determination and commitment to transform the School of Public Health (SPH) and our broader community. Over the next six months, we will be developing an online tracking tool to provide up-to-date progress and activity toward our goals. For now, I want to share some key progress updates to give you a glimpse of the type of work we are doing (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • We hired a new program manager in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Andrea Pérez-Maikkula (she/her/ella) will begin her new role at SPH on Feb. 7 and she will be responsible for managing processes and workflow to support implementation of the strategic plan. (Reflects progress on Area 1: Goal 3)

  • We revamped our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team (EDIT). EDIT members attended the National Coalition Building Institute’s Leadership for Diversity training in November. They are using what they learned to restructure the DEI Conversation Series and develop two trainings that will be offered to the SPH community this spring: “Antiracism 101” and “Event Planning with an Anti-Oppressive Lens.” (Reflects progress on Area 1: Goal 2)

  • We have directed more than $30,000 in GAGE funding from the Graduate School to: provide tuition and tutoring support to several SPH PhD students; provide training for EDIT members at the National Coalition Building Institute; and support division-level graduate assistants focused on antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in SPH. (Reflects progress on Area 2: Goals 2 and 3)

  • We launched the Justice in Public Health speaker series. This monthly series has drawn hundreds of attendees and features local and national experts to increase our understanding of topics that affect public health and advance equity. (Reflects progress on Area 1: Goal 3)

  • We raised more than $14,000 on Give to the Max Day to support the new SPH Antiracism Innovation Fund(Reflects progress on Area 1: Goal 3)

  • We revised the SPH faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure (APT) policy. Policy language and membership is more inclusive and policy statements now emphasize the value of faculty contributions to DEI work, community-engaged work, and team science. (Reflects progress on Area 3: Goal 4)

The theme we developed for the launch of the strategic plan supports our principles of action and accountability: “Building Equity, Driving Justice: Commit | Challenge | Change.” This theme calls on each of us to commit to this movement and to challenge ourselves and others as we work to change the systems, policies, and structures that allow racism to perpetuate. These principles must live in all of us and you can view ideas for ways to get involved on our strategic plan website.

Toward justice,

Lauren Jones
Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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