The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Monthly Journal
Volume I Issue IV | February 2021
Letter from the Office

Black History is now!
In this issue we highlight the contributions of the Black Community to Public Health.
The Black Panther Party Legacy to Public Health
"...the Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in Oakland, California. The new organization aimed to give political leadership and provide physical defense for the Black community that had just obtained its civil rights but was still overwhelmingly poor, oppressed, and vulnerable to violence."
School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation
Free Clinics
Dr. Kizzmekia " Corbett, PhD
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, is a senior research fellow working with the Vaccine Research Center strategists in NIAID’s Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory and has become a central figure in COVID vaccine science.

Learn More:

FSPH Spotlight
In each newsletter, we’ll be spotlighting a member of our community who is doing the work to improve equity in public health.
Asya Spears, MS
Alumni 2014 Biostatics

"...behind the data, there's people." "My identity, and my perspective, enable me to think about the questions we ask and the structure of the studies we conduct differently. I’m always considering who’s at the table—and who isn’t."
We’re spotlighting Asya Spears, class of 2014 . Here she shares a bit about herself. 
I had long been committed to making sure people had equal access to different things, and I knew that was a real challenge in the United States. But I had never really studied that challenge until I got to college, when I was formally introduced to the concept of public health. 
The summer before my freshman year of college, I participated in a program for health scholars—those interested in health-focused careers. We took courses in biology, calculus, chemistry, and public health. 
Bill Jenkins, the late Tuskegee epidemiologist and UNC and Morehouse professor, was our instructor for public health. I remember soaking up everything he said. 
Before that class, I had known health was important—of course. I had known there were disparities in its delivery, but I didn’t know that there was a field dedicated to its study. Once I had a name for it, I knew it would be a focus of my career. 
That program gave me the opportunity to understand numerous aspects of healthcare professions, from professionals in the field. Our professors were from Morehouse and Spelman—alumni and local health professionals who shared with us what it was like to go through med school or their professional programs. 
That insight was invaluable for so many of us, and inspired us to pursue our own paths in healthcare. One of my peers from the program is a pharmacist, and another is pursuing a doctorate in pu­­blic health—just to name a couple. 

The perspective our instructors provided has informed my work as a statistician, too. Everyone says “behind the data, there’s people.” Though my training and focus is on the numbers, I’ve always been interested in the stories and context behind them. I think you have to be to do good work. 
We see that today as we interrogate the application and ethics of algorithms and AI, as the biases of their developers are sometimes evident in the way they function. I know that having different voices at the table leads to more creative problem solving. 
My identity, and my perspective, enable me to think about the questions we ask and the structure of the studies we conduct differently. I’m always considering who’s at the table—and who isn’t.
I was originally a biology major in college, and I remember talking about genetic diversity and how those with the same genetic makeup are susceptible to the same issues. Variety supports a more robust response. That makes sense to me in this context too. 
We can come up with more creative ideas for approaching different public health challenges when we have a variety of perspectives at the table. That difference supports our progress. 
As I’ve come to understand the importance of different ideas in doing better work, I realized the importance of communication. That led me to data storytelling. 

Asya will be presenting at
Public Health Week

April 6th from 12-1 pm - Keynote on being a Black woman statistician, navigating career pivots and learning new data skills

April 8th from 4-6 pm - Hands-on data storytelling workshop for up to 30 students or alumni interested in using Excel to transform data into actionable formats for Public Health decision maker. Prerequisite of Biostats 101.
We’d love to know who you’d like to see featured in the newsletter, including professors, staff, classmates, alumni, and community members. We look forward to collaborating with you to share the great minds who are transforming public health locally and globally. Submit Spotlight submissions here.
Check out the conversation the Thursday, March 4th!
The FSPH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Our goal is to foster a community of inclusion where historically and socially marginalized and underserved students feel represented, heard, and respected.