In the aftermath of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and many others at the hands of law enforcement, the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health (GDEH) affirms our commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. Led by and in collaboration with our students, we established a formal working group to focus on community action, make structural change within our department, and work towards and advocate for change at the school and university. We commit to continually learning about our internal biases while working towards anti-racism in our daily actions. We reject all forms of racism, prejudice, and injustice, and recognize its historical, pervasive, and systemic nature in the United States and in academia. We especially reject nativist, white nationalist, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Latinx, anti-Chinese, ableist, and sexist discourse and policies. We hope we can create a space and environment where we listen, learn, and work together, and where we are able to have difficult conversations.
The Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee (GDEH DEI-SC) was formed in August 2020. The purpose of the DEI-SC is to harmonize, coordinate, and document DEI-related work across the department and relevant committees. The committee is composed of GDEH stakeholders including faculty, staff (research and administrative), students (MPH and PhD), and alumni, but we recognize that all members of the GDEH community are responsible for doing the hard work related to increasing their own knowledge and work related to DEI. However, we want to push back against the convention of Black individuals and POC having to do this work FOR white people and having to speak to the Black and POC experience. We invite all to join in these efforts, but also want to emphasize that Black and POC students should not feel obligated to participate.
Mission & Vision
The DEI-SC applied a process of listening and consensus building to develop the following vision and mission:
Our vision is an academic community of excellence that fosters and sustains support for diversity, equity, and inclusivity rooted in anti-racism and combating anti-blackness.
Our mission is to serve as a hub and support network for GDEH DEI-related initiatives, both within our department and in our work as public health researchers and practitioners, and specifically to:
- Apply principles of anti-racism as a lens to address all forms of prejudice, oppression, and social injustice, including misogyny, nativism, sexism, and homophobia;
- Engage the GDEH community to eliminate disparities and achieve environmental health justice and equity;
- Empower the GDEH community with advocacy tools and practices that elevate DEI initiatives; and
- Develop and implement clear DEI priorities that are tracked, monitored, and evaluated to ensure the achievement of the critical outcomes necessary to achieve our vision.
To sharpen our mission and vision we created specific outcomes (or goals) related to department culture, teaching and pedagogy, research, and training/mentorship.
In 2021, the department voted on the top goals for short- and medium-term prioritization. Progress made towards these goals is reported back to the department in annual end of year reports.
The GDEH DEI-SC also encourages community members to visit the Anti-Racism and Social Justice page on the Rollins website to learn more about actions being taken at the school level.
Other DEI Resources:
Matthew Freeman, DEI-SC Faculty Chair
Natalie Olson, DEI-SC PhD Student Co-Chair
Prachi Prasad, DEI-SC MPH Student Co-Chair
Page updated June 2022