August 26, 2020
On August 12, 2020, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences hosted a webinar for faculty and staff entitled “A Call for Systematic, Anti-Racist Change Within SPHHS to Support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).” The webinar initiated a school-wide dialogue about structural racism, its effects on public health, and what faculty and staff can do to address structural racism in their labs, classrooms, and communities. Participants separated into breakout rooms to discuss their own roles in the SPHHS and how they might combat systemic racism, and proposed ideas for improving the climate of the SPHHS. The webinar concluded with SPHHS executive leadership presenting their own pledges to support the SPHHS, and inviting participants to make their own pledges to take action.
The webinar was organized by SPHHS anti-racism task force leaders Nathaniel Whitmal, Associate Professor of Communication Disorders and SPHHS Director of Diversity Advancement; Susan Shaw, Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Policy and Director of the Center for Community Health Equity Research; Christopher Greenfield, Associate Dean of Administration and Finance; Risa Silverman, Director of the SPHHS Office of Public Health Practice and Outreach; Gloria DiFulvio, Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion and Policy and Public Health Sciences Undergraduate Program Director; and Dean Anna Maria Siega-Riz.
“Our work has just begun,” says Dean Anna Maria Siega-Riz, noting that this was but the first step in the school’s efforts to support the lives of Black Indigenous and People of Color in our community. “Across our school and all of its departments and programs, we have begun to examine our policies and procedures to remove systemic processes that perpetuates racism and discrimination. We have started our next steps to explore the topics of anti-racism, social justice, and public policy advocacy. We will be inviting our various stakeholders, including our students, alumni and community members, to join us in these efforts.”