The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies has long promoted diversity as one of its core values. Recognizing the diversity in our community as one of our greatest strengths, our program aims to provide a supportive learning environment for students, staff, and faculty to serve our communities’ needs, and to understand and utilize the strengths to promote healthy and thriving communities. Our goals outlined below align with our department’s mission to advance the health of the peoples of Hawai‘i, the nation, and the Asia-Pacific region through knowledge, discovery, innovation, engagement, inclusion, and leadership.
Goal 1: Cultivate and sustain a diverse and multicultural student body that is reflective of Hawai‘i’s communities by recruiting, retaining, and graduating ethnic minority students that are under-represented in higher education.
- Aligned with our mission of advancing the health of the peoples of Hawai‘i, the nation, and the Asia-Pacific region, we aim to recruit high quality students who are from these communities and are dedicated to serving these communities. Our aim is to have at least 40% of our student body from Hawai‘i’s communities. Because of the under-representation of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and other indigenous students in higher education, we aim to have at least 30% of our student body from these communities.
- In an effort to recruit and retain high quality students committed to public health, particularly focused on Hawai‘i and the Asia-Pacific, high quality students who have connections to or are committed to serving Hawai‘i and/or Asian-Pacific communities are given priority in the application review process. This criterion is included in the student application evaluation form.
- Student recruitment efforts are primarily focused on local students from the State of Hawai‘i through events targeting local middle and high schools, including those in the neighbor islands and rural communities from which student representation tend to be low. Recruitment efforts also will target areas of the continental US with connections to Hawai‘i (e.g., California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada, where many former Hawai‘i residents now live or attend school) and community colleges and universities in Asia and Pacific Island Nations and Territories. These efforts will aim to recruit students of ethnically diverse backgrounds, especially those of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and other indigenous ancestry.
- The needs of students related to their retention and successful completion of the program will be continually assessed through faculty advising practices, course evaluations, and student exit surveys.
Goal 2: Encourage and monitor the recruitment of women and minority faculty at all levels, including leadership positions, consistent with the available pool.
- Aligned with our mission of advancing the health of the peoples of Hawai‘i, the nation, and the Asia-Pacific region, we aim to recruit faculty who are from these communities and are dedicated to serving these communities.
- We aim to develop a faculty that is reflective of the student body by increasing the number of women and ethnic minority professors. We aim to have at least 50% of our faculty be women and 50% be of ethnic minority ancestry.
- Faculty recruitment is conducted via postings on the University of Hawai‘i’s employment webpage, a statewide newspaper, and is also placed in appropriate national professional publications specific to the topic of recruitment. Further, postings will be advertised in appropriate professional listservs that target women and ethnic minority communities, specifically those in Asia and Pacific Island Nations and Territories. Job descriptions will note that University of Hawai’i continues to build a culturally diverse faculty and strongly encourages applications from women and members of minority groups.
- We ensure that women and minority faculty members participate in all search committees when assessing faculty applicants. This promotes the opportunity for local and nationally qualified applicants to be vetted by a balanced committee and supports with university policy regarding diversity.
- To ensure women and ethnic minority faculty members are successful in obtaining tenure and being promoted to leadership positions, continuous evaluation and mentorship opportunities will be provided through the annual review with the Department Chair and Head of the Personnel Committee. We aim to have at least 50% of leadership positions filled by women and/or by ethnic minorities.
Goal 3: Provide a supportive and nurturing learning environment to prepare students to collaborate with diverse communities in Hawai‘i, the nation, and the Asia-Pacific region in culturally sensitive manner.
- The OPHS curriculum includes culture and diversity-related competencies. We acknowledge that cultural competence alone cannot address health disparities, and that culturally sensitive community collaborations need to be nurtured through self-awareness, open-minded inquiry and assessment, and the ability to recognize and adapt to cultural differences. Because the value of experiential learning, faculty will strive to provide students with opportunities to collaborate with diverse communities as a part of their courses.
- The 240-hour MPH practicum provides an important opportunity for students to gain real-life public health experience, while serving the needs of the community. OPHS will continue to evaluate the needs of students and communities to ensure students are prepared to engage with communities in culturally sensitive and meaningful ways.
Goal 4: Cultivate a supportive environment for diversity including the scholarly dialogue on diversity.
- To meet this goal, the OPHS Personnel Committee will coordinate and provide a workshop every semester to the students, faculty, and staff on relevant topics, including sexual harassment and gender equity, LGBT communities, supporting students with disabilities, etc. Workshops will guide the faculty in how these topics can be incorporated into their teaching.
- The Hui Ola Pono (department student group) and the Student Affairs Committee serve as a venue for students to share any concerns they made have. This information is incorporated in the Student and Faculty Handbooks and shared with incoming students every year during department orientation.
- We recognize that everyone has a role in creating and maintaining a supportive and welcoming learning environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. Any type of harassment, sexual or otherwise, is against University of Hawai‘i policy (Executive Policy E1.203 on Sexual Harassment and Related Conduct). UH has a clear policy and procedures in place to address any concerns related to students, staff, or faculty well-being in our department (see Student and Faculty Handbooks for more details). UH faculty and staff have an obligation to report incidents to administration if they involve discrimination, sexual violence, or stalking. Information on resources will be provided to incoming students and faculty at the beginning of each academic year. In addition to the department staff and faculty, UH offers multiple resources for anyone who experiences or witnesses any type of harassment that is detailed in the Student and Handbook.