College of Public Health Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives: 2021 Annual Report

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Dear College of Public Health community,

As we write this summary, the U.S. continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The past year has brought remarkable stress, loss, and grief. It has also raised the profile of public health as never before. Furthermore, the pandemic has shone a light on the many social, economic, and political inequities in our nation. The importance of addressing these inequities to improve population health has rarely been made so clear.  

Here we offer the first annual report of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activities in the College of Public Health. It represents over two years of effort by a dedicated sub-group of DEI Committee members who worked to advance the college’s teaching, research, and service missions. Committee members reviewed internal data, looked to peer institutions, and sought feedback from key constituencies as they developed the college’s first DEI Strategic Plan, which includes three overarching objectives: to enhance educational offerings; to recruit, retain, and advance students, staff, and faculty; and to strengthen administrative structures and transparency. There are over 30 specific action steps, which we began implementing in Academic Year 2020-2021. We have been pleased by the widespread support and high levels of engagement as we step up our efforts.

Our belief and commitment:

The College of Public Health interprets diversity as embracing and respecting all races, nationalities, colors, creeds, religions, age, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The college believes that diversity in the classroom is a vital component of educating future public health professionals and scientists. A well-rounded, culturally competent public health workforce is required to meet the health needs of the nation’s growing ethnic and racial populations and to address the pressing health disparities faced by many groups. The college is committed to facilitating an atmosphere rich in cultural perspectives and actively supports and promotes diversity in the college and public health workforce.

We offer this report as a summary of key DEI developments and select activities in the College of Public Health. Readers will find links to further information listed with these pages. We invite you to explore this topic in more detail on the college’s DEI web page (, which was recently re-designed to increase accessibility and ease of use.

Looking to the future, we would like to acknowledge some personnel changes. After leading our effort to draft the college’s DEI Strategic Plan, Dr. Paul Gilbert will step down as co-chair of the DEI Committee. In his place, Dr. Margaret Chorazy will chair the committee in her role as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The college is also in the process of hiring a new position—a manager of DEI activities.

We’d like to thank the members of the DEI Committee for their dedication and service, and look forward to working with members of the college and university as we continue to develop and deliver our DEI activities.

Margaret Chorazy
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Clinical Associate Professor

Paul Gilbert
Associate Professor

Strategic Objective 1:

Enhance educational offerings related to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all learners (i.e., students, staff, faculty, community members) within the College of Public Health.

Review and revise curricula within the College of Public Health to ensure all students receive diversity, equity, and inclusion focused content.

Review courses for DEI content

The DEI Committee has begun work to review graduate and undergraduate courses for DEI content. A review strategy and data collection instrument have been developed. The review will occur in two phases. First, committee members will review existing course syllabi to identify DEI content in course learning objectives, readings, lectures, other learning materials, and course policies. Second, faculty members will be asked to reflect on their own courses, using their course syllabus as a guide. The goals of this curriculum review are to assess the extent to which DEI content is currently being taught to CPH students, to identify opportunities for additional DEI content to be taught across the curriculum, and to encourage faculty to increase the extent to which they cover DEI topics in their courses.

The College of Public Health Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is made up of faculty, staff, and students from all across the college. This committee aims to promote and develop a culture of collaboration and inclusion in the college and university. The committee works towards greater representation of those currently underrepresented in the college and in the public health workforce. The CPH DEI Committee is open to anyone and everyone in the College of Public Health, regardless of identity or experience working in DEI. You do not need to be nominated by a department or current member to join, and anyone can attend any regular meeting. To be added to the DEI mailing list, please contact

Increase the amount of and participation in co-curricular diversity, equity, and inclusion learning opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and community members within and outside the College of Public Health.

Spotlight Series

During the academic year, the College of Public Health provides regular enrichment events (i.e., Spotlights) on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. These times do not conflict with any CPH classes and are open to all students, staff, and faculty. The DEI Committee organizes three Spotlights per semester. Highlights of the past year included educational games with prizes to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month, a panel discussion of the film Pyne Poynt (co-organized with the UI Injury Prevention Research Center), and a presentation of Campus Climate Survey results specifically for CPH. All events were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we noted an unexpected benefit—larger audiences than usual in-person Spotlights.

Book Club

Each year the College of Public Health invites faculty, staff, students, and community members to participate in a joint reading of a book. The 2020-21 CPH Book Club selection was Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. The college collaborated with the CPH DEI Committee and the College of Law/UI Center for Human Rights to offer an online series of five speakers and discussions that took place throughout the academic year. Several of the lectures were recorded and are available at

CPH co-sponsored events

  • In collaboration with Carver College of Medicine and One Iowa (a statewide advocacy organization), students and faculty from CPH co-organized the first Eastern Iowa LGBTQ Health & Wellness conference on January 29, 2021. The half-day virtual conference included a keynote speech by Pidgeon Pagonis, a national advocate for intersex education, and parallel workshop tracks for community members and health care professionals (including continuing medical education credits).
  • The Health Equity Advancement Lab, a college-wide enrichment program for social justice, once again organized the Science of Health Equity summit on April 23, 2021. This annual event brings together students, staff, faculty, and community members who are devoted to advancing equity in public health activities. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was a virtual summit. It was headlined by a keynote presentation by Dr. Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, professor of health management and policy at Georgia State University, who has over 30 years’ experience advancing research on culture, identity, and health.
  • The College of Public Health has been a regular sponsor of the annual Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa conference. Partnering with other UI health sciences colleges and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the day-long conference seeks to ensure that health care professionals have the skills and knowledge to provide culturally appropriate services in order to respond to the changing patient demographics, address health care disparities, ensure patient safety and the highest quality of care. This year’s virtual conference took place on June 3, 2021.

Strategic Objective 2:

Recruit, retain, and advance a diverse collegiate community of students, staff, and faculty.

Increase the number of underrepresented students applying to and enrolling in CPH degree programs.

Recruitment scholarships

As a part of ongoing efforts to recruit students to our graduate programs, the DEI Committee awarded eight scholarships and two, 25%-time Graduate Research Assistantships to incoming students. Support is provided for two years. The total value of these awards is $99,266.  

Recruitment initiative/Provost funding

The college submitted a request for funding in response to a call for proposals for the Investment in Strategic Priorities: A Partnership Between the Colleges and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost initiative in order to support a pilot program to recruit Eastern Iowa high school students into the College of Public Health’s undergraduate program. The college received a one-time award of $7,500 to support this program, which will bring current Eastern Iowa high school students from marginalized groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minority, economically disadvantaged, and under-performing school districts) to the College of Public Health for a one-day, non-residential public health educational program. Students from Blackhawk (Waterloo), Linn (Cedar Rapids), Scott (Davenport), and Muscatine (West Liberty) counties will be invited to participate. Due to COVID-19, the event has been postponed to Summer 2022.

Summer Health Professions Education Program

For the fifth consecutive year, the College of Public Health has joined with the UI Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy to offer the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SHPEP is a free, six-week summer enrichment program for undergraduate students interested in health professions. Notably, SHPEP delivers a curriculum to strengthen the academic proficiency and support the career development of students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the health professions, including (but not limited to) individuals who identify as African American/Black, Native American or Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latino, and who are from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 session was delivered virtually.

Ensure accessibility of College of Public Health buildings.

Implementation of recommendations from the accessibility assessment

To improve accessibility, first-floor restrooms in the College of Public Health Building have had ADA-accessible power door openers installed. Power door openers also have been installed on the front doors of the first-floor auditoriums and on the access corridor on the main level. New, easier-to-use power door openers have been installed at the east and west entrances of CPHB. Finally, this summer the college is also making accessibility upgrades to rooms S162 (Dean’s Conference Room) and C217, including accessible podiums that move up and down. 

Strategic Objective 3:

Strengthen and support collegiate administrative structures and processes that enhance and recognize our commitment to DEI, with particular emphasis on accountability and communication for transparency.

DEI staff position

In May 2021, the College of Public Health launched a search for a new DEI manager position that will be housed within the college’s Office of Student Services. The individual hired will have the opportunity to shape and foster a culture to achieve the vision, mission, and goals of the college through operational support, project management, and quality improvement. It is expected that this position will have three main areas of focus: our students, our college community, and partnerships across campus.

DEI questions on the Recent Graduate Satisfaction Survey

At the end of each academic year, recent graduates from our undergraduate and graduate programs are invited to complete the Recent Graduate Satisfaction Survey. This year, five questions were added to the survey to assess how students perceive the college’s commitment to DEI, the degree to which they felt respected, valued, and included during their time with the college, the growth in their commitment to DEI during their time in the college, and to identify opportunities for improvement in student experiences at the college.  

Incorporating DEI in the annual performance review for faculty

The CPH Faculty Council is developing questions that incorporate DEI training, promotion, and other activities into the annual review process for faculty.

Additional Resources

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the College of Public Health

Download and read our Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2019-2021. Here you will also find the recent collegiate results from the 2020 University of Iowa Faculty and Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Campus Climate Survey along with other resources.

University of Iowa Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion