Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of
Behavioral and Social Sciences

The Diversity Statement of the Brown University School of Public Health parallels the core values and priorities of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS). It reads:

The School of Public Health is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive working and learning community of faculty, staff, and students. We embrace diversity along its many dimensions—including race, ethnicity, sex, religion, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and other aspects of identity.  We encourage debate and open discussion to promote respect, understanding, and innovation.  Meeting the public health challenges of our increasingly globalized and connected world requires that we value all of our members and encourage all voices to be heard.  As the School of Public Health pursues its mission of educating future public leaders, producing relevant research and scholarship, and achieving measurable impact in the communities we serve, we recognize that our success derives from the dedication of every member of our community to the principles of diversity and inclusion.

BSS is committed to fulfilling the aspirations articulated within this statement. We acknowledge the unmistakable and widespread health impacts of inequitable social structures, historical factors deeply tied to social identifiers, implicit and explicit social biases, and unique stressors faced by members of minority groups. These realities compel public health scholars to engage actively with issues of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. We believe that behavioral and social scientists must take a leading role in these efforts, both in our research and in university life. Our educational mission requires the representation of multiple perspectives and a learning community that is direct and unreserved in speech, compassionate, and inclusive. Likewise, our research engages communities as research partners and considers social contexts and culture as key factors in improving health and wellbeing.

Research within our Department focuses on promoting health and wellness and ameliorating health inequities in all segments of society, both domestically and globally. Such research attracts a diverse group of committed and passionate scholars. We believe that a diverse faculty and student body provides the deep and varied perspectives needed to inform research that will make a substantial and sustained impact on population health equity. The Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences is committed to (a) attracting and nurturing students, faculty, and staff that represent all dimensions of diversity; (b) teaching a curriculum that devotes attention to issues of social justice and health equity and highlights the need to engage diverse communities as partners in research; and (c) creating an inclusive departmental climate that fully acknowledges that —despite individuals’ and institutions’ best intentions—implicit biases, microaggressions, and structural factors detract from equitable access to educational and career opportunities. As a Department we aspire to meet these commitments through our recruitment and mentoring of students, faculty, and staff, the content of our courses and departmental seminars, the research agendas we pursue, and the intellectual and social environment we co-create.