2022 DEI Annual Report
Dear College of Public Health community,
I’m pleased to share the College of Public Health’s second Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Annual Report. This report looks back at the activities that took place over the 2021-22 academic year, a time marked by continued changes, challenges, and adaptations brought about by the pandemic.
In past years, the CPH DEI Committee was responsible for developing and overseeing a strategic plan for DEI initiatives. More recently, DEI was integrated into the college’s FY22 strategic initiative. Now, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, alongside Student Success, Research and Discovery, and Engagement, form the college’s four strategic priority areas.
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.
Our objective is to create an environment in which all students, staff, and faculty feel valued, safe, and encouraged as they grow their connection with the College of Public Health. Our goal is to integrate DEI into research, education, and engagement within a collegiate atmosphere of respect, authenticity, cultural competence, and humility. This objective is supported through four critical tasks, which are detailed throughout this report along with accompanying tactics.
We offer this report as a summary of key DEI developments and select activities in the College of Public Health over the past year. Readers will find links to further information listed within these pages. We invite you to explore this topic in more detail on the college’s DEI web page (cph.uiowa.edu/diversity/).
I’d like to thank the members of the DEI Committee for their continued dedication and service and look forward to working with members of the college and university as we continue to implement our DEI activities.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Clinical Associate Professor
Chair, CPH DEI Committee
Critical Task 1:
Enhance educational offerings related to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all learners within the College of Public Health.
Tactic: Review and revise curricula within the College of Public Health to ensure all students receive diversity, equity, and inclusion focused content.
The DEI Committee’s Curriculum and Pedagogy Sub-Committee (co-chaired by Dr. Knute Carter and Dr. Kelly Baker) continues its work to review graduate and undergraduate courses for DEI-focused content. The goals of this curriculum review are to assess the extent to which DEI-focused content is currently being taught to CPH students, to identify opportunities for additional DEI-focused 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 review is occurring in two phases. First, sub-committee members are continuing their review of existing course syllabi to identify DEI-focused content in course learning objectives, readings, lectures, other learning materials, and course policies. Second, faculty members will be asked in the future to reflect on their own courses, using their course syllabus as a guide.
Tactic: 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.
During the academic year, the College of Public Health provides regular enrichment events (i.e., Spotlights) on most Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. The DEI Committee organizes three Spotlights per semester. Selected highlights of the past year included:
- a discussion of our CPH DEI Strategic Plan and activities,
- a virtual Lotería event co-hosted with the University of Iowa Latinx Council in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and
- a presentation celebrating Native cultural knowledge, practices, beliefs, and contributions of Native Peoples of the Americas.
CPH DEI Committee Co-sponsored Events
- The University of Iowa Maternal and Child Health Catalyst Program invited a panel of speakers to discuss Iowa’s Title V Doula Project for African American/Black Families, a pilot project supported by the Iowa Department of Public Health to determine and develop a strategy for culturally appropriate, community-based doula services for Title V agencies throughout Iowa.
- The Health Equity Advancement Lab, a college-wide enrichment program for social justice, once again organized the Science of Health Equity summit on April 1, 2022. This annual event brings together students, staff, faculty, and community members who are devoted to advancing equity in public health activities. This year’s keynote presentation was by Dr. Lisa Bowleg, PhD, professor of applied psychology at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bowleg is a leading scholar of the application of intersectionality in behavioral and social science research. Her keynote address was titled “Towards Critical Health Equity.”
- In partnership with the CPH Faculty Council, the DEI Committee hosted a panel discussion for faculty and staff to discuss free speech and associated policies at the University of Iowa.
- A group of faculty who teach courses in the MPH program have been participating in a DEI in Teaching Practice pilot program facilitated by Center for Teaching staff. Through their participation in this program, these instructors are testing out tools and strategies that will be later shared with the rest of the CPH teaching community.
- The DEI Committee will be partnering with various offices on campus including staff from the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Inclusive Education and Strategic Initiatives team, the Center for Teaching, the Carver College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Women’s Resources and Action Center to provide multiple training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. Topics include but are not limited to understanding implicit bias and microaggressions, bystander intervention, and facilitating difficult dialogues.
Critical Task 2:
Recruit, retain, and advance a diverse collegiate community of students, staff, and faculty.
Data Spotlight: Our CPH Community by Racial/Ethnic Status, 2021-2022
The following graphs compare the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 reported demographic data for race/ethnicity among CPH faculty, staff, and students. These data are shared to highlight an area for continued focus in the college with respect to our efforts to recruit, retain, and advance a diverse collegiate community.
Faculty and staff data represent University Human Resources Information Systems data on June 30 of each year. Student data represent MAUI Fall Census data for students whose primary college of enrollment is the College of Public Health.
Right click on a graph to open an enlarged image in a new tab.
Tactic: Seek out and develop local partnerships to broaden the diversity of the CPH student populations.
High School Recruitment Initiative
The college hosted Eastern Iowa high school students from marginalized groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minority, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation students) for a one-day, non-residential public health educational program. Students from Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, and West Liberty were invited to participate. Students heard from faculty about their research, toured CPH labs, and heard from current students about their experience. This event was funded by the Investment in Strategic Priorities: A Partnership Between the Colleges and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost Initiative.
Tactic: Develop Partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions for student and faculty exchange and bi-directional learning.
The college has established partnerships with two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN, and Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL. The college has been working with Tennessee State University to create shared resources for faculty and students from both institutions in the UI CPH Health Management and Policy Department, which has resulted in philanthropic funds to create scholarship opportunities for Tennessee State University graduates to earn a Master of Health Administration (MHA) at the University of Iowa. Stillman College was recently awarded a BioGradMatch STTR Phase 1 grant which will assist Stillman College students by assigning them ‘Graduate Coaches’ from the college to assist students in preparation for navigating the graduate application process.
Both institutions partnered with the college in a HRSA scholarship grant proposal that was submitted this summer. The grant is designed to increase the number and diversity of the public health workforce. If awarded, up to five full scholarships will be awarded to students who graduated from one of the partner institutions to attend the college’s MPH program.
Enhanced Recruitment Strategies for Faculty and Staff Positions
Improving the diversity of our faculty and staff is an area of focus for the college. The college has incorporated Path to Distinction best practices for faculty search committees. Additionally, Dean Parker begins each initial faculty search committee meeting and expresses the need to develop a diverse pool of applicants and to actively recruit applicants. The increased use of flexible work arrangements, particularly remote arrangements, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled the college to draw from a more diverse applicant pool, especially for staff positions. The college has employees working remotely from 16 different states across the U.S. In the coming year, we will continue to engage with departments to reflect on hiring, retention, and advancement practices.
As a part of ongoing efforts to recruit students to our graduate programs, the DEI Committee awarded seven scholarships and two, 25%-time Graduate Research Assistantships to incoming students. Support is provided for two years. The total value of awards to new and returning students for the current fiscal year is $133,558.
Summer Health Professions Education Program
For the seventh consecutive year, the College of Public Health has partnered with the UI Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy to offer the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). After two years as a virtual program, we welcomed a cohort of 80 scholars to campus for summer 2022. 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.
Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics
The Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics (ISIB) is a seven-week program funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that provides biostatistical research education and research opportunities to undergraduates and graduates with interest in the field. Priority admission is given to disadvantaged students and to students from small liberal arts colleges which do not offer substantial coursework in statistics or biostatistics. The UI College of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics has hosted the ISIB program every summer since the program began in 2008. From 2008 to 2020, 201 students have participated in ISIB, and 54% of ISIB graduates are attending or have attended graduate school programs in biostatistics, statistics, or data science.
Critical Task 3:
Ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible physical and virtual environment.
Tactic: Continue to address findings identified in Hawkeye Accessibility Ambassadors assessment of the College of Public Health Building.
The college strives to provide a supporting, welcoming, and inclusive environment in the College of Public Health Building. Although several recommendations from the Hawkeye Accessibility report were implemented in previous years, the collegiate leadership team did re-review the report again this past year. As a result of discussions and feedback provided, the college is now pursuing ADA actuators (a push pad or button that automatically opens and closes doors) for departmental suites to be installed over the next several years.
In addition, the college initiated the installation of rescue assistance phones. These phones are similar in appearance to emergency phones you would see in an elevator. Calls will be answered by the UI Department of Public Safety and if necessary, firefighters or other responders will come to the location to assist in getting persons out of the building. Information about building accessibility and inclusion can be found on the collegiate facility website.
Tactic: Develop and implement policies to improve content accessibility, e.g., increased use of microphones and video captioning.
The University of Iowa’s IT Accessibility Group provides leadership and assistance with policy and technical guidelines, training, consultation, and advocacy for accessibility efforts at Iowa. This group has developed the Digital Accessibility Resources Guide, which provides guidance for creating accessible web content, course materials, social media, videos, and other documents. The CPH Office of Communications and External Relations strives to follow and model best practices in accessibility. Some examples include captioning videos, providing transcripts of the CPH student-produced podcasts, providing alt text with images, conducting accessibility trainings, and using Siteimprove to monitor and improve the accessibility of CPH web content.
Tactic: Promote the core values of the college.
In response to student feedback, a new sub-committee was created as part of the CPH DEI Committee. The new student sub-committee will be a space for students to have authentic DEI conversations among peers, brainstorm ideas, and provide feedback to the full committee. The sub-committee will be chaired by Liz Lara, Manager of DEI, and meets monthly. The student sub-committee has advocated for a variety of events with a focus on community building for underrepresented students. This led to the creation of the “Connecting Communities” series. Three events were held in spring 2021 focusing on networking, mental health, and celebration.
Critical Task 4:
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.
Tactic: Create structures and processes to support accountability and communication for transparency.
New staff position: Manager of DEI
Liz Lara joined the College of Public Health in September 2021 as the college’s Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This new position is housed within the college’s Office of Student Services. Ms. Lara will help 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. Liz discussed her role and DEI initiatives in academia on an April 2022 episode of From the Front Row, a podcast produced by CPH students.
Incorporating DEI in the annual performance review for faculty
The CPH Faculty Council has developed questions that incorporate DEI training, promotion, and other activities into the annual review process for faculty. To encourage individual growth and to facilitate discussion of core values, faculty are asked to provide a summary of DEI-related activities and goals. This summary may include a listing of professional development activities related to DEI that the faculty member has participated in over the past year, a reflection of how DEI has been integrated into teaching, research, service, and professional activities, and DEI-related goals for the coming year.
Following a DEI-focused retreat for CPH Executive Committee members, the college will move forward with its plan to review and revise collegiate and departmental policies and processes with an equity lens to ensure our policies support all student, faculty and staff and do not undermine advancement.