In accomplishing our mission to ethically engage with domestic and global communities to achieve optimal population health, quality of life, and social justice, we have embraced the commitment to develop a plan of action that persistently works against racism and white supremacy. Rollins students have spoken; we are listening, and we are taking action.

In a pursuit of inclusivity and equity, the Rollins School of Public Health values:

  • Innovative scholarship that advances health and well-being
  • Cultural humility and inquiry-driven practice, and
  • Ethical engagement with domestic and global communities

We have to have the courage to constantly redefine the unacceptable. That’s the way to improve the health of populations.” – Dean James Curran

 Student voices subheading

The following is a listing of former and recent calls to action prepared by concerned Black master-level students and recent graduates, and endorsed by students, faculty, and alumni. The Rollins School of Public Health agrees that we need to identify and take actionable steps to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for faculty, staff, and students. The school’s leadership has been moving forward to advance this work.



In 2015, the Black Students of Emory University also presented demands to the University’s leadership.

In response to and in collaboration with the students, we have identified areas where progress is needed and have mapped their demands within each category. Please read this addendum that details each of the demands. These areas commit us to the necessary work that must begin immediately, and also set a roadmap for the incoming Assistant Deanof Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

  • Affirming Black Voices & Experiences Within and Beyond the Classroom (Demands 3 and 10)
  • Faculty Recruitment & Development (Demands 8, 9, and 11)
  • Student Engagement & Orientation (Demands 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, and 14)
  • Admissions Practices & Scholarship Allocation (Demand 7)
  • Transparency of School Demographic Data (Demand 12)

In line with this agenda, we have made commitments to addressing the current need. These steps are only some of our ongoing efforts to foster a more equitable Rollins community and culture.

  • Meeting regularly with school and department leadership to engage anti-racism efforts.
  • Forming a subcommittee of the RSPH Education Committee to develop anti-racism curricula
  • Requiring Cultural Humility training for all incoming/current master’s and doctoral students.
  • Creating the Common Read book list, with accompanying author talks/discussion groups, for students, faculty, and staff

Updated September 2020

Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences (BSHES)

BSHES Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group

Departmental Initiatives:

  • Currently creating an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group, which will be comprised of faculty, students and staff
  • Planning a faculty and student training focused on anti-racism and cultural humility in the Fall
  • Increased mentorship aimed at building equity and an inclusive community
  • A year-long film series focused on racial equity topics
  • In response to student requests and concerns, developing new coursework with an emphasis on anti-racism
  • Developing and implementing a yearly EDI assessment to identify improvements based on targets identified by students

Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (BIOS)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

Committee Purpose: The official charge is: “Review current activities related to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in our department, School, and discipline. Recommend possibilities for new initiatives and activities relating to recruitment and retention. Participation in initiatives (e.g., the MLK Community Service Awards Ceremony, Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics Workshop at ENAR).” This is implemented by the committee more broadly as “Improve equity and inclusion in BIOS.” Committee membership is comprised of faculty, staff, and students.

Departmental Initiatives:

  • Continue dialog and raising of awareness of DEI issues through periodic short primers/facilitated discussions for students and faculty/staff
  • Continue assessment of DEI in the department through:
    • Annual survey (BIOS Climate Survey)
    • Facilitated discussions (see above)
    • Other tracking measures (ideally, recruitment and retention)
  • Increase transparency of DEI and improvement activities in the department through annual reporting and quarterly updates in the BIOS newsletter
  • Continue to increase community ties and departmental inclusion through service opportunities and informal department events
  • Continue to engage with students on equity concerns and promote inclusive student-led activities through a DEI Committee member who is the designated BIOS Student Council liaison
  • Goals for academic year 2020-21:
    • Create some example data analyses for faculty to use in their courses where race is a proxy for structural racism
    • Include one lecture on topics of racism and public health in at least one core course for Masters and doctoral students (tentative courses are BIOS 580, BIOS 780R, BIOS 777)
    • Encourage simple pedagogical improvements so coursework is more equitable for students of different backgrounds, learning styles
    • Discussion on admissions (including the utility of proxy indicators of academic success, bias in the GRE, implementation of equity)
    • Broader conversations about equity in Masters and doctoral programs
    • Increase awareness of DEI for faculty and staff through increased exposure to DEI concerns/concepts (including formal training, brief best-practice reports led by DEI Committee members, etc.)
    • Other activities as needed to help increase equity and inclusion

Executive MPH (EMPH)

Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Committee Purpose: Guide DEI priorities within the EMPH Program

Departmental Initiatives:

The Executive MPH department has shared a climate survey as part of its annual student experience survey. They are also in the process of developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, including program administration, faculty and students, to guide priorities within the EMPH Program. Please contact Moose Alperin, Director of the EMPH program, or Laurie Gaydos, Deputy Director, for more information.

Epidemiology Department (EPI) 

Tim Lash, 

Departmental Initiatives: 

  • Created an ad hoc curriculum committee to develop new competencies for both the MPH and PhD curriculums. This work will assure that all students achieve competencies in understanding racism as a public health crisis. Goal is to complete competency development and implementation for students matriculating in Fall 2021.
  • Developed and delivered new lectures on race and racism in relation to public health in EPI530 (required for all 1st year MPH/MSPH students in EPI) and EPI550 (required for all 2nd year MPH/MSPH students in EPI). An additional new lecture on use of race in prediction models will be delivered towards the end of the fall semester in EPI530.
  • EPI leadership group is researching best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion committees operating at the level of academic departments. EPI committee will have a clear charge, objectives, and metrics of success, with representation from students, staff and faculty. We aim for this committee to begin its work by the end of the fall semester, 2020.
  • EPI leadership has held ongoing and productive conversations with MPH/MSPH and PhD student groups to inform departmental actions. In addition to topics described here, additional topics have included admissions, faculty recruitment, faculty unconscious bias training, and others.
  • EPI students and faculty created a student group to provide masks and hand sanitizer at BLM marches and protests with the support of the Dean’s office.
  • Rollins Day On initiative launched by EPI students with support from EPI faculty (and others).

Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health (EH)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee

Matthew Freeman,

Departmental Initiatives:

  • The Environmental Health Call to Action was formed by PhD students in mid 2020 to support department-wide action, advocacy, and engagement on anti-racism and diversity and inclusion in the EHS PhD program and GDEH department. They hold biweekly calls with departmental stakeholders to push for short and long-term departmental action including updating website language; creating student resources; increasing community engagement and research; strengthening the pipeline from HBCUs; ensuring diversity in speakers; improving faculty and student recruitment and retainment; reviewing office culture/practices to promote safe spaces, etc.
  • DEI Steering Committee formed in August 2020, with representation from faculty, research and administrative staff, MPH and PhD students, and alum to support institutionalizing changes to departmental culture, training and mentorship, pedagogy and curriculum, and research.
  • 2020 Departmental-wide reading that will be discussed: Ibram Kendi – How to be an Antiracist
  • Commitment for diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism training by faculty and recommended trainings for staff and students prior to start of school 
  • Encouraging diversity of readings and curriculum revisions for upcoming courses, including adding a social determinants of health and environmental justice reframing of Introduction to Environmental Health
  • Search committee developing a plan to increase diversity in applications for ongoing search

Health Policy & Management (HPM)

HPM DEI Committee

Committee Purpose: In general, this Committee will work to foster and build an academic community where all members are able to thrive and to enhance our scholarly mission to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes in underserved populations. HPM recognizes that both institutional change and individual efforts will be required to advance this shared mission, and the HPM DEI Committee will be an essential actor in supporting these efforts. 

Departmental Initiatives:

The HPM DEI Committee is composed of representatives from HPM’s primary stakeholder groups – faculty, students (Master’s and Ph.D.), and staff (research and administrative) – who serve as liaisons between these groups and the Committee and support the Committee’s different efforts.  We considered it important to convene a full committee before deciding on departmental priorities. Over the last few weeks, the Committee has launched and completed elections for the non-faculty committee positions. As of this week, we have finalized the composition of the committee.

The agenda for the next meeting will be to identify priorities for the committee. In the meantime, we have started to collect DEI-relevant background and training materials, covering a variety of topics, including equitable hiring and mentoring practices, inclusive pedagogy, and anti-racism strategies. 

 Resources and ways to get involved

Incoming RSPH students are required to select and read at least one of the following texts as part of the RollinsTogether Common Read:

  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  2. From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence, Dr. Hannah L. F. Cooper and Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove
  3. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Dr. Carol Anderson
  4. How to be an Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi

Additional Reading Lists: 

Public Health Reading List on Racial Violence and Racial Health Disparities

Emory Universitiy's Anti-Racisim Reading List