Commitment to Anti-Racism & Social Justice

In the past year, people around the world have come together in protest to call for an end to hundreds of years of systemic racism. At the University of Washington, our Master of Health Administration (MHA) students have thoughtfully engaged in this effort, participating in organized Black Lives Matter demonstrations; convening a book club to create opportunities for dialog among our students, staff and faculty; and forming a Curriculum Advocacy Team (CAT) to work with the MHA program to better integrate topics of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism into the MHA curriculum. 

Racism in any form is antithetical to the values of the UW MHA program. On behalf of the MHA leadership team and all of our staff and faculty, we join the broader UW and School of Public Health (SPH) efforts to examine how structural racism has manifested throughout our organization and deepen our resolve to dismantling these structures.

For an institution that has historically been predominantly white, this commitment must begin with authentic allyship—expressing empathy and indignation in response to racial injustice, holding ourselves and others accountable when we enable racism, and understanding and using our privilege to effect positive change. This won’t happen overnight. It will be a journey of continuous learning and improvement, but there are a few important steps we can take right away. 

As part of the MHA program’s recent strategic plan refresh, we affirmed our core value of equity and articulated a commitment to anti-racism aligned with our strategic priority to “create and sustain a culture that embodies our values of integrity, collaboration, excellence, innovation and equity.” In alignment with the UW and SPH, our 2020–21 MHA tactics for this priority will include the following actions:  

  • Adopt a statement of anti-racism
  • Undertake an assessment to identify systemic barriers/gaps in our current systems and policies
  • Partner with our MHA Education Committee and MHA Student Association CAT to integrate topics of diversity and inclusion more fully into our curriculum
  • Participate in schoolwide anti-racism trainings, as well as expert-facilitated educational workshops on racial equity designed specifically for MHA students, faculty and staff
  • Continue to apply holistic admissions and faculty/staff recruitment best practices to further diversify our student cohorts as well as recruit diverse staff and faculty

Just as our MHA alumni and community partners are working to eliminate health disparities and address the social determinants of health, the MHA program is making a conscious effort to model the change our students, alumni, faculty and staff deserve. Our statement of commitment to anti-racism will evolve as we make progress toward our goals in 2021 and beyond.