Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Public Health and Why It Matters

By Djeanane St. Germain

As a research intern with Affirming YOUth Foundation, Inc., attending webinars to gain valuable information is a significant part of my responsibilities. A webinar I attended in February 2022 that stood out to me was Emory University’s “DEI in Public Health: Why It Should Matter to Everyone.” The session was led by Joanne McGriff, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the Rollins School of Public Health. The discussion included one’s ability to influence another group’s access. The speaker showed us a video on white privilege that detailed white privilege being mostly access-based and not just black and white.

[White privilege] means that white people have more access than black people, but white people with access also have “white privilege” over white people without access.

Dr. McGriff also spoke with us about achieving health equity and bias. Biases contribute to inequities in power, privilege, opportunities, and outcomes for ourselves and others. It is important to learn ways to minimize biases to achieve health equity. We also discussed as a group remedies to implicit biases. A suggestion was to conduct “blind hirings,” where company’s hide a candidate’s personal information that may skew or “bias” the hiring process. Many were for this method with some disagreeing. I thought that this idea was just a quick fix but not actually addressing the issue of implicit biases. This method may help someone get the job, but can also result in them being treated unfairly due to their race. It is best that people acknowledge and make an effort to unlearn these biases.

Liberty City’s population includes majority minorities making the discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion important. All populations and individuals should be valued equally and this could be possible with accessible resources for this community. The culture AYF tries to build for this community is diverse and they realize the value in being able to serve different clients of various backgrounds.

Having a diverse team allows for better serving and embracing diversity allows for a conscious effort in being inclusive.

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