Racism is a fundamental cause of health inequities and has been declared a public health crisis by over 200 cities and counties, 18 states, and numerous health and healthcare organizations across the country. American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin noted that, “These declarations are an important first step in the movement to advance racial equity and justice and must be followed by allocation of resources and strategic action.”
The UC Berkeley School of Public Health has a moral, ethical, and professional obligation to address racism as a root cause of health and overall well-being. Our actions should reflect what our research tells us. Becoming an antiracist institution is an important part of that duty to ourselves (students, staff, and faculty), to the University, the state of California, and the nation.
In 2020, Berkeley Public Health launched the Anti-Racist Community for Justice and Social Transformative Change (ARC 4 JSTC) initiative in order to systematically assess our institutional strengths and identify areas for growth as we transform our culture and practices toward becoming more anti-racist. This includes assessing the current state of our curriculum and pedagogy, mentoring, student experience, staff and workforce experience, our business processes, and engagement with our local and greater community. We dedicated ourselves to becoming an anti-racist institution by examining our institutional policies, culture, and norms and becoming champions of racial equity practice by creating and implementing short, moderate, and long term goals, and metrics focused on building internal capacity in an effort to create something that will be self-sustaining. We’ve phased the work to prioritize activities that: 1) build foundational capacity, 2) can be implemented quickly and with current resources, 3) will have high visibility, and 4) will have recognizable impact.
The initiative has three goals and five projects.
1. Strategic Planning
Center anti-racism and racial equity praxis in the overall mission of BPH by developing one-, three-, and five-year goals, objectives, strategies, metrics, and evaluation plans for anti-racist pedagogy, practice, and administration.
2. Implementation through the lens of change management
(i.e., Leading Change):
Implementation of core (cross-cutting) and program-specific elements (e.g., student experience, community engagement) with a focus on fundamental institutional change
3. Collaborate and Align Efforts
Ensure alignment of the BPH ARC4JSTC with the campus-level anti-racism initiative determine/identify/create opportunities to partner with other units to elevate other anti-racist activities and initiatives and become a catalyst of anti-racism praxis on the UCB campus. We also aim to align our efforts with other efforts in public health including the ASPPH (Association for Schools and Programs of Public Health) initiative to dismantle structural racism in academic public health.
Co-Chairs: Bo Chung, Audrey Cristobal, Clyde Oden, Jr.
Our transformation into an anti-racist institution requires genuine partnerships with vision, decision-making, and resources shared with external community members who suffer from systemic racism and health inequities. Our school’s work will be more meaningful, impactful, and authentic by co-identifying community health assets and stressors that need to be addressed.
Co-Chairs: Amani Allen, Deborah Barnett
Faculty require the skills for practicing anti-racist pedagogy inside and outside of the classroom and advancing an effectual anti-racist and racial justice curriculum. Centering antiracism and racial equity praxis in BPH’s educational mission will improve our ability to recruit, retain and graduate a highly qualified and diverse student body for addressing the most vexing public health challenge of our time.
Co-Chairs: Michelle Azurin and Emily Chow
Creating opportunities for BPH employees to align themselves with the school’s mission, vision, and values, through intentional and systematic anti-racist training and praxis, will help advance the school’s mission further. Institutionalizing anti-racist trainings and programs for BPH personnel to dismantle racist structures and engage in brave spaces is also necessary for staff well-being, personal and professional development, and overall success as employees of a school of public health.
Co-Chairs: Quin Hussey, Yuridia Hernandez-Osorio, Che Abram
The Student Experience Working Group is committed to supporting and ensuring that our students have a positive, anti-racist experience during their tenure at BPH, and that all of our students learn ways to actively disrupt racism when they encounter it and move from bystanders to co-conspirators and allies during their time at BPH.
Michael C. Lu MD, MS, MPH
Dean, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Ché L. Abram
Chief of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
Priya Sarran-Persad, BSc
Michelle Azurin, Staff Advisory Council (SAC)/DICE
Deborah Barnett, Chief of Curriculum & Instruction
Christine Board, Black Advocates for Equity in Health (MPH Epi/Bio student)
Bo Chung/Elizabeth Ly, Public Health Alumni Association (PHAA)
Audrey Cristobal, Center for Public Health Practice and Leadership (CPHPL)
Julianna Deardorff, School-wide Faculty Equity Advisor
Lori Dorfman, faculty (mass communications) and Berkeley Media Studies Group
Will Dow, Division organizer/Division Equity Advisor
Quin Hussey, Assistant Dean for Students
Aminta Kouyate/Fatumah-Ayaan Rinderknecht, Co-Chairs Berkeley Chapter of WC4BL (JMP students)
Leanna Lewis, Interim Associate Director JMP
Ijeoma Uche, Graduate Student Assistant (MCAH Student)
Maddy Cuyler, Graduate Student Assistant (MPH Student)
Juan Carlos Bordes, Graduate Student Assistant (DrPH Student)
Erika Neal, Black Advocates for Equity in Health (OOMPH student)
Athena Nguyen, Registered Student Organization (RSO) Coordinator (MPH EHS student)
Reverend Dr. Clyde W. Oden, Jr., Community Member
Elise Proulx, Director of Communications and Marketing
Sarah Reynolds, Researcher, Anti-Racism During COVID Group
Che Abram, Chief of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Interim DREAM Office Director
Michael Sholinbeck, BPH Librarian and former DICE leader
Andrea Jacobo, Student Government Co-Chair (DrPH student)
Sai Ramya Maddali, Graduate Student Researcher (DrPH Student)
Ex Officio Members: Denise Cronin, Anne Ho, Emily Schwarz, Seana Van Buren