The College of Public Health aims to be a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, in line with our vision ‘to be the catalyst of positive change for population health’. To accomplish our mission, which is ‘to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health for Kentucky and beyond’, we understand that excellence in teaching, scholarship and practice is not possible without diversity and inclusion. Our greatest and longest lasting contribution to achieving improved population health is through the creation of new knowledge, development of the next generation of well trained professionals, and by fostering an environment in which all members flourish regardless of age, race/ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language/culture, national origin, religion, political perspective or disability status. Advancing diversity and inclusive excellence in the college will enables us to live up to our values, promote the common good and achieve greater impact by understanding and promoting a rich variety of perspectives.

This 5-year diversity and inclusive excellence plan serves as a blueprint developed with input from students, staff, faculty members, college administrators and leaders. It reflects our shared aspirations as well as an understanding that considerations of diversity and inclusive excellence must be woven into each and every initiative and strategy, and outlines specific approaches to eliminate barriers to excellence that may disproportionately affect any group of individuals compared with others. Most important to our vision are the students, faculty, and staff who represent a broad diversity of thought, background, ethnicity and perspectives, who find their inspiration through their interactions with each other; these different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences make us stronger and ensure that we create a climate of success for all who learn and work here.

 This plan reflects the vision of the Dean and Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence at the College of Public Health to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable academic environment and encourages individual and collective action towards this goal at every level.

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Plan 2017-2022

Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence

Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju

Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju serves as Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence at the College of Public Health. In this role, she works to promote proper and fair treatment to all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, political belief, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. Dr. Akinyemiju will work with faculty, staff and students within the College of Public Health and collaboratively with other units across the University to develop programs and strategies to: 1) promote a diverse, inclusive and equitable academic environment, 2) eliminate barriers to excellence that may disproportionately affect any group of individuals compared with others, and 3) encourage individual and collective action towards these goals at every level within the college.

Resources to Support Inclusive Excellence

College of Public Health Office of Practice and Workforce Development

The office focuses on the application of didactically acquired knowledge in diverse practice environments and will provide students with comprehensive public health practical program support for all College of Public Health curriculum. The Office will establish and sustain relationships with the public health practice community and work with the community to develop local, national, and international experiential opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students within the College of Public Health. By going outside traditional academic settings, students gain a greater understanding and appreciation of what they are learning in the classroom.

Office of the Ombud

The Office of the Ombud works with all those engaged in the teaching and learning activities of the university, including students in all undergraduate, graduate, and professional school programs, TA's, and RA's, as well as full-time and part-time faculty to provide a safe, neutral, and confidential setting in which to ask questions, discuss problems and seek assistance with academic-related conflicts and disputes. These include, but are not limited to: grade disputes, registration problems, fear of retaliation, disability accommodation issues, cross-cultural misunderstandings and personality conflict.

Disability Resource Center

The goal of the DRC is to provide equal access to students who are eligible by advocating for reasonable accommodation, removal of barriers and acceptance of different learning methods in order to achieve an accessible educational environment where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of the university community. Students are encouraged to contact the DRC early to request specific assistance so that the required medical or psychological documentation can be reviewed and reasonable accommodation can be provided from the beginning of class work in order to achieve the greatest benefit to students.

Office of LGBTQ* resources

The UK Office of LGBTQ* resources is the central hub for accessing information, groups, and services related to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The center is actively engaged in supporting student organizations, offering professional development opportunities for campus groups, and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals from many walks of life. Their ultimate goal is to highlight the wonderfully diverse experiences of LGBTQ* Wildcats while working to decrease marginalization in all forms.

Martin Luther King Center

The mission of the MLK Center is threefold: (1) to advance the university's strategic goal of achieving a more diverse and inclusive campus environment, (2) to support increased retention of undergraduate students who are generally underrepresented in the student body, and (3) to enhance student achievement by helping students to have a more engaged, productive and fulfilling undergraduate experience. To these ends, our goals are to foster intercultural competence, promote respect and passion for the pursuit of quality education, and to help prepare students for productive and responsible engagement in a global society. Programs include speaker series, diversity organization council- providing a hub for diversity student organizations to collaborate, monthly lunch & learn, Black & Latino Male Initiative- providing opportunities for Black and Latino male students at the University of Kentucky to connect with other students, faculty and staff, among others.

UK Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives 

The UK CGD works to connect graduate and professional students of color to essential tools and resources by promoting academic excellence, building inclusive communities and supporting personal and professional development through monthly programs and services such as the Mentoring Moments. Mentoring Moments are monthly small group mentoring sessions designed to connect students to faculty, alumni and practicing professionals for academic support, encouragement, and lifelong professional development. Students network, learn more about specific areas of interest, and begin to build professional relationships. Professionals share their expertise, guidance, and wisdom with students. 

UK Counseling Center

The Counseling Center offers groups, workshops, and short term counseling to support student's growth and assist students with mental health, academic and/ or other personal concerns that might interfere with academic performance or a sense of personal well-being while at UK. For those experiencing a personal crisis, the UKCC provides same-day walk-in crisis appointments Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm, and after business hours or on the weekend, call 859-257-8701, select option #1 to be connected to a mental health clinician. Let’s Talk is a new program at the UK Counseling Center that provides free and confidential access to clinicians who will listen closely to concerns and offer support, information and referrals. The Relaxation Room is another new resource where students learn and practice a variety of skills to help with stress management and relaxation. Resources include meditation and mindfulness, massage chair, light therapy, and Wildcat Wellness Programs.

UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Center

The VIP center leads, supports and sustains a culture of accountability to eliminate violence and oppression at UK through safe spaces for people to be heard, while also speaking for those who have been silenced.  The center provides support and linkage to resources for anyone who has been hurt or knows someone who has experienced personal violence, which can include sexual assault, rape, stalking, and partner violence. No appointments necessary for walk-ins Monday-Friday 8.30 – 5pm, or call 257-3574. All VIP staff members are trained, confidential advocates and full time staff members   

Bias Incidence Report Team

The Bias Incident Response Team (B.I.R.T) is the entity through which incidents of identity-based violence and harassment can be reported, reviewed and appropriate action can be taken by the University. This will allow the University to respond to individual incidents and to examine trends and themes that need to be addressed. A bias incident is defined as any activity that intimidates, demeans, mocks, degrades, marginalizes, or threatens individuals or groups based on that individual's or group's actual or perceived ability (physical, psychological and cognitive), age, ancestry, citizenship or immigration status, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or gender expression, parenting and pregnancy status, race, religion, religious practice, sexual orientation or veteran status. A bias incident can occur whether the act was intentional or unintentional, and may or may not be a legal act. In identifying a bias incident, the focus is on the impact on an individual or group, not the intention or motivation of the actor.

International Center

The UK International Center (UKIC) leads internationalization efforts at the University of Kentucky. The work of the UKIC is supported by International Advisory Council, a group of globally-engaged faculty and administrators representing each of the University’s 16 colleges, plus other key academic units. The UKIC is comprised of the following units:   Education Abroad and Exchanges (EA) –is the University's comprehensive resource for study, research, intern, teach and service-learn abroad. EA provides academically sound international experiences for all students that promote intercultural competence, disciplinary scholarship, and language acquisition. EA also oversees student exchange programs with partner institutions around the world. International Partnerships & Research – UKIC serves as a resource center for the University’s vital international linkages by supporting the development of agreements and partnerships with universities, foreign governments, NGOs, and U.S. government agencies abroad; promoting the involvement of UK faculty members, staff, and students in international research, grants, development projects, and related activities; and facilitating access to international funding opportunities. International Student and Scholars Services (ISSS) – provides leadership and expertise in the advising and immigration needs of more than 2,000 international students and over 500 international faculty, staff and exchange visitors. International Health, Safety & Security (IHSS)-  the newest unit of the UK International Center, manages UK’s international travel medical insurance and evacuation policy, and oversees risk management issues related to international travel.