The School of Public Health is committed to creating an educational and work environment that is rich in diversity, inclusive, and supportive of all students, faculty, and staff. We understand that a school energized by diverse perspectives and experiences provides a powerful educational benefit and enhances our research and community service. We acknowledge and celebrate diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and learning abilities, socioeconomic status, national origin, veteran status, and other areas of difference. We have developed a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion that reflects our commitment to diversity. We also have conducted climate surveys with faculty, staff and students.
Our commitment is reflected in the School of Public Health Strategic Plan and the University of Maryland Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion where diversity is articulated as a core value and complemented by specific objectives and target outcomes for diversity and inclusion.
Some Ways Our School Supports Diversity and Inclusion
Dean Boris Lushniak leads a team dedicated to providing a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming school. This team includes an associate dean for diversity and inclusion, an associate dean for academic affairs, an assistant dean for undergraduate education and a health equity officer. The school’s Diversity Council, with broad representation from faculty, staff and students, oversees implementation of our Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion and assesses our progress. Despite many achievements, we constantly strive to expand diversity and inclusiveness throughout the School and to ensure that all members of our community share the responsibility for diversity leadership.
Our Diverse Student Body
The School of Public Health is committed to recruiting, retaining, and graduating a diverse student body and to optimizing students’ potential for academic success. Excellent one-on-one advising, mentoring, internships, and research opportunities prepare students to be culturally-competent public health professionals.
While we recognize that diversity is more than numbers, we are proud of the racial/ethnic and gender diversity of our students, as well as the other dimensions of diversity that they represent. The University of Maryland is one of the top degree-granting institutions for African American and minority students in the nation, and our school has one of the most diverse student bodies on the campus.
- In fall 2013, 51% of our undergraduate majors are members of racial/ethnic minority groups: 22% are African American, 10% Hispanic, 14% Asian, 4% from two or more ethnic groups, 1% American Indian, Native Hawaiian, or international, 46% White, and 3% unknown.
- Our undergraduate student body is currently 69% female and 31% male.
- In fall 2013, 38% of our graduate students are from minority backgrounds: 20% are African American, 5% Hispanic, 10% Asian, 2% from two or more ethnic groups, 1% American Indian or Native Hawaiian, 11% international, 47% White, and 3% unknown.
- Our graduate student body is currently 76% female and 24% male.
- The university was rated Number 1 among the Association of American Universities for the number of African American Ph.D. graduates in 2009 and continues to be among the top 3.
Our Diverse Faculty and Staff
Our faculty and staff bring a wealth of backgrounds, talents, and perspectives to our academic community. Their efforts contribute to a school that is widely recognized for its innovative teaching and learning, pioneering research, community engagement, and positive work climate.
- Among the 69 members of our tenured/tenure track faculty, 9% are African American, 7% are Hispanic, 13% are Asian, 3% are international, and 68% are White.
- The faculty is currently 49% female and 51% male.
- The School’s diverse staff is 21% African American, 11% Hispanic, 11%Asian, and 57% White; 71% are women and 29% are men.
- NSF’s ADVANCE program and other mentoring initiatives support the retention and promotion of women and minority faculty in the School and across the university.
- The Maryland Center for Health Equity offers the Public Health Critical Race Praxis Institute for faculty and researchers across the nation.
- New initiatives are being planned to foster the professional development and career advancement of our School’s diverse staff.
Diversity in Educational Programs
The school strives to provide every student with an education that incorporates the values of diversity and inclusion. Our curricula increases students’ understanding of public health issues and interventions, develops their cultural competency, and provides exceptional academic and co-curricular experiences. Students collaborate with peers from different backgrounds to tackle challenging public health problems that prepare them to work and live in diverse communities.
- School courses explore timely public health issues that address diversity issues, including methodologies for addressing social and environmental determinants of health, health disparities, and chronic health problems.
- Internships and research projects provide real-world experience working in government agencies, think tanks, professional associations, and military facilities, such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Children’s Defense Fund, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
- Students have life-changing international experiences through the Global Public Health Scholars program and the School’s Study Abroad courses, which take them to China, India, Peru, Mexico, and Germany.
- The UM STAR program offers minority undergraduates summer opportunities to engage in school research on biomedical and behavioral aspects of cardiovascular disease, preparing them for graduate or medical school.
Diversity in Research
The school’s faculty and students conduct ground-breaking research and scholarship focusing on the health and well-being of women, racial/ethnic minorities, the elderly, the poor, and other diverse groups in America and worldwide. Each department has researchers who are engaged in identifying public health problems and disparities, examining their causes, and developing and implementing interventions. School symposia, grand rounds, and seminars provide opportunities for research training aimed at improving individual, family, and community health.
- School centers such as the Maryland Center for Health Equity, the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center, and the Center for Healthy Families foster interdisciplinary collaborations aimed at reducing health disparities and increasing health equity across diverse populations.
- The Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity, and Health Disparities Research, funded by NIMHD, sponsors studies on vaccine disparities, physical activity in African American women, and Black men’s health.
- Our CDC-funded Prevention Research Center unites faculty researchers from across the School who are working to reduce disparities in HIV, diabetes, obesity, and youth academic achievement within the national capital border area of Prince George’s County (MD), Montgomery County (MD), and Washington, DC.
- A major grant from the American Cancer Society is evaluating spiritually-themed health interventions to increase prostate cancer screening among African American men.
- Two large school projects are improving veterans’ well-being: A school partnership with the state of Maryland conducts research and training to enhance post 9/11 veterans’ behavioral health, and a Legacy Corps project funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service provides in-home caregiver services to veteran and military families in 11 states.
Community Engagement and Service
As a school within a public university and land grant institution, our reach and engagement extend beyond the physical boundaries of the campus. We embrace the responsibility to improve the health and well-being of our diverse external communities, which include large numbers of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and immigrant families. Such engagement builds trust among community members, enriches the educational experience of participants, and provides opportunities to evaluate the impact of our interventions. The school currently has numerous community-based research, continuing education, and extension outreach programs that benefit nearby communities and the state.
- The school has established formal partnerships with other research universities, non-profits, schools, and state and federal agencies that seek to reduce health disparities in diverse populations, such as the Al-Huda School, Mary’s Center, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Defense Centers of Excellence, and the Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health.
- The Department of Public and Community Health has maintained a 14-year partnership with the City of Seat Pleasant, with faculty, staff and students providing health education services to residents, and residents offering feedback on the department’s health education curriculum.
- The Center for Healthy Families is the largest provider of couple and family therapy to low income families in Prince George’s County, treating 450 client families annually.
- The SPH Extension faculty improve the quality of life of 10,000 low-income, rural, and urban families annually, addressing health literacy, family financial management, health insurance, nutrition education, parenting issues, and healthy homes.
- The SPH faculty are leading a statewide, model oral health literacy project aimed at eliminating dental health disparities among low-income young children and their caregivers.
The school works to ensure an inclusive and welcoming classroom climate, learning community, and workplace environment. When differences do arise, efforts are made to resolve them in a civil, respectful manner. We actively support the University’s policies on equity, non-discrimination, compliance, and equal opportunity/affirmative action. Faculty, staff, and students have access to mentoring and professional development programs, and their achievements are celebrated by the entire School community.
- In the 2013 ADVANCE Survey of College Work Environments, 85% of School faculty members were satisfied with their colleagues’ support, and School faculty had more positive assessments of chair support and the work-life climate than their university peers.
- The School set up one of the University’s first lactation rooms to support breastfeeding mothers in the campus workforce.
- School staff have been leaders in the University’s Intergroup Dialogue Program, where students from different social identity groups come together to discuss issues related to their diversity.
- Several of the School’s student organizations, such as the Student Association for Rising Health Professionals, are focusing on advising and mentoring students from underrepresented groups.
- We have conducted climate surveys with faculty, staff, and students to measure our effectiveness and progress.
Response to Discrimination and Microaggressions
The core values of the University are: “excellence institution-wide and in the work of all its members; diversity and inclusiveness of students, faculty and staff; a commitment to civility and collegiality in order to make this a broad, welcoming, and diverse community; the highest ethical standards in all university actions; and a commitment to openness and accountability through shared governance.”
Consistent with these core values, all faculty, staff and students are required to complete the UMD Office of Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct’s online training on "Responding Effectively to Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct": http://www.umd.edu/ocrsm/training/
On April 28, 2016, the University Senate approved a Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedures: http://president.umd.edu/sites/president.umd.edu/files/documents/policies/VI-1.00B.pdf
This policy outlines what is considered discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and how to report such behavior. A brief summary of these three terms from the policy is now provided:
“Discrimination” is unequal treatment based on a legally protected status that is sufficiently serious to unreasonably interfere with or limit an individual’s opportunity to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, or that otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of the individual’s employment or education.
“Harrassment” is a form of discrimination (as defined above) that encompasses unwelcome conduct based on a person’s protected status. It may include, but, is not limited to the following when based on a person’s protected status:
- Conduct, whether verbal, physical, written, graphic, or electronic that threatens, intimidates, offends, belittles, denigrates, or shows an aversion toward an individual or group;
- Epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping, jokes, or nicknames;
- Written, printed or graphic material that contains offensive, denigrating, or demeaning comments or pictures; and
- The display of offensive, denigrating or demeaning objects, e-mails, text messages or cell phone pictures.
“Retaliation” refers to action that is taken against an individual because she/he reported discrimination, filed a complaint of discrimination, or participated in an investigation or proceeding concerning a discrimination complaint.
Our School views microagressions or communication of hostile, derogatory or negative slights or insults towards particular groups through verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities—whether unintentional or intentional--as inconsistent with the University’s commitment to maintain an educational, working and living environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. More information on microagressions can be found here: http://world-trust.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/7-Racial-Microagressions-in-Everyday-Life.pdf
- To help ensure that our School is welcoming for all, the following administrative staff have been tasked with following up on microagressions, retaliation, harassment and discrimination:
The University of Maryland is widely recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. School of Public Health faculty have assisted campus leaders in crafting policies and implementing programs that address faculty promotion and tenure, same-sex partner benefits, work-family balance, and student veterans. Such efforts have helped the university and the school to become model diverse communities whose impact is felt across the campus, state, and nation.
- School faculty and staff have received awards for diversity leadership from the University Presidents’ Commissions on Women Issues, Ethnic Minority Issues, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Issues; national professional associations; and community foundations.
- One of the School’s departments, Family Science, has been named the “Outstanding Academic Unit” by the University President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues in 2012, 2004, 1997 and 1992.
These are only a few of the ways in which we support diversity and inclusion at the School of Public Health. We encourage you to contact us or schedule a visit to the University of Maryland to learn more about our exciting programs and initiatives.