The Equity Collective
The Equity Collective, a student group in the Department of Health Behavior, has met bi-weekly this semester [spring 2017] to develop strategies to create a more equitable health behavior community. The group’s mission is to work to create, promote and sustain equity in the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior for the benefit of all prospective and current students, faculty and staff. The collective aims to achieve this by identifying forms of institutional racism and organizing key stakeholders to eliminate racism and oppression against historically marginalized populations within the Gillings School.
On the creation of the group, one member remarked, “The Equity Collective exists because our department has not provided students with sufficient training in health equity. Furthermore, students in our department from historically marginalized backgrounds continue to experience inequities during their training. This group aims to identify and address these inequities in order to create an equitable environment in the department, as well to develop a public health workforce that embodies health equity.”
Next year, the Equity Collective plans to continue working toward its long-term vision – a department that regularly trains faculty on equity-related topics, practices a culture of inclusion, fosters deeper understanding of the diversity of students’ backgrounds, and utilizes a historically-based curriculum to teach about the causes of health inequity and how to develop structural interventions and policies to address them.
“Public health is about addressing differences seen in quality of health, and as a public health professional, if equity is not your mission then you are not doing public health.”