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Letter to the FSPH Community

Dear FSPH community,

Thank you for sharing your insights and suggestions about how we can work together to make our school a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable community that invests in and uplifts our Black students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to you is that we will do better and that we will continue to welcome your input and partnership as we move forward.

To effect change at FSPH our efforts must be broad-reaching and continuous. In some cases there are immediate small shifts that can have impact, but for the change we seek to be permanent we will need to work together to reimagine many of our systems and develop new blueprints.

Meaningful conversations with campus and FSPH faculty leadership, staff, and students were our first step. All of these conversations—with the goal of effectivel taking action—will continue. And humility, education, and awareness, especially for those of us who are not BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color), are up to each of us to continue.
 
Below we have summarized our school’s plans for the 2020-21 academic year and  the corresponding paths forward—this is just our starting point. Additional plans are in development. We encourage your ideas and feedback.

  • We will hold workshops and trainings for faculty, staff, and students which will aid us in establishing a collective framework of understanding as well as language to address and combat racism and privilege—more information will be shared later this summer. Workshops and tools will also be made available to assist faculty in all departments to make the necessary improvements to pedagogy and mentorship, and to create more inclusive classrooms
  • We will incorporate anti-racism—the active process of identifying and eliminating racism—into FSPH’s core course curriculum, beginning with the Public Health 200 series during the 2020-21 academic year. Curriculum development for PH 200 is underway.

  • We will provide pilot research funding for faculty and students to address topics including health inequities and disparities as well as antiracist practices, beginning this coming academic year.

  • There will be a call for faculty and students to apply for small grants to fund curriculum development addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion; antiracism; and social justice in public health.

  • We will begin an FSPH Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (FSPH EDI) Student Community Ambassadors program. FSPH EDI Student Community Ambassadors will work with local communities to address equity issues at the intersection of social justice and public health. Applications will be available this Fall.

  • We will bring together external advisors consisting of alumni, communit leaders, campus partners, and national experts to counsel the FSPH ED Committee on school initiatives.

  • Our fundraising initiatives for the upcoming academic year will continue to prioritize issues related to Black life, underrepresented students in public health, and diversity and social justice issues.

  • We will expand our outreach, recruitment, and retention pathways to public health and FSPH for BIPOC students. We will work with our students, staff and faculty to establish these pathways and further support the programs we currently have, based on best practices.

  • We will begin to incorporate sustained professional development, mentorship, and retention programs for staff and faculty focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The effort will start this Fall with the incorporation of EDI during orientation for all new FSPH faculty.

  • We will increase opportunities for our community to learn from and engage with experts, artists, and other thought leaders addressing EDI, anti-racism, and social justice in public health through increased intentional programming beginnin this coming academic year.

  • An evaluation of the impact of EDI programming at FSPH will be conducted. Funding will be made available to faculty and/or students to perform the evaluation.
The actions listed above represent the beginning of our work to increase the visibility, support, and representation of Black students, staff, and faculty. Increasing equity is a cornerstone of our discipline and must be foundational to everything we do at FSPH—our recruitment, our teaching and testing, our research, our work with communities, and our everyday interactions with each other. And taking these steps to enact a cultural shift at FSPH will further prepare our graduates to address inequities of health, access, and power that extend beyond our campus.

Leading these efforts is FSPH’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion—Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Public Health Practice Alina Dorian, EDI Program Manager Janae Hubbard, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Elizabeth Yzquierdo. They are working in close partnership with our five academic departments and our school’s EDI Committee, which is composed of students, staff, and faculty across all departments and offices. If you’d like to explore how you can participate, please contact Janae Hubbard at jhubbard@ph.ucla.edu.

We are humbled by the work that lies ahead but remain confident that building a truly equitable, diverse, and supportive community—working in partnership with you and keeping our public health values at the forefront—is within our reach.

Sincerely,

Ron Brookmeyer
Dean

Alina Dorian
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Public Health Practice

Janae Hubbard
Program Manager for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Elizabeth Yzquierdo
Associate Dean for Student Affairs