Diversity & Inclusion

Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work Diversity & Inclusion Committee


The Stempel College Diversity & Inclusion Committee operates to advise the Dean of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at the college and to provide recommendations for fostering this institutional core value.


The committee aims to:

  • Focus on policy issues and offer enhancements that will increase representation within the college at all levels (student, faculty, and staff).
  • Lead the overall coordination and direction of college diversity and marginalized communities* recruitment.
  • Implement strategies and initiatives that will increase marginalized communities' representation within the college.
  • Develop and expand the mission of diversity and inclusion through the college’s didactic methodologies.

* “Marginalized communities are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, and/or cultural life. Examples of marginalized populations include, but are not limited to, groups excluded due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, language, and/or immigration status. Marginalization occurs due to unequal power relationships between social groups.” Citation: Baah, Foster Osei et al. “Marginalization: Conceptualizing patient vulnerabilities in the framework of social determinants of health-An integrative review.” Nursing inquiry vol. 26,1 (2019): e12268. doi:10.1111/nin.12268

  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee Members 2020-2021

    Patria Rojas, Ph.D. (Committee Chair)

    Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

    Email: proja003@fiu.edu

    Jessica Adler, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, History & Health Policy and Management

    Miguel Angel Cano, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Epidemiology

    Magnolia Hernandez, Ph.D. (ex officio member)

    Assistant Dean of Student & Alumni Affairs

    Sandra Kiplagat, MSc

    Doctoral Student, Epidemiology

    Cristina Palacios, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Dietetics & Nutrition

    Deidre Okeke, MPH (Committee Vice Chair)

    Public Health Admissions Coordinator

    Email: dokeke@fiu.edu

    Diana Azzam, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

    Natalia Giordano, MSW

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Shante Jeune, MS

    Doctoral Student, Dietetics & Nutrition

    Tan Li, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Biostatistics

    Dulce Suarez, MA

    Assistant Director, Academy for International Disaster Preparedness

  • Stempel College Statement on Racism and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s Call to Action

    The Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work joins the world in mourning and embitterment over the wrongful deaths of our fellow black citizens. The lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade were wrongfully cut short at the hands of an agency designed to protect the lives of all individuals under its jurisdiction. The painful reality is that these individuals are but just a few of many, over decades, that have fallen to similar fates due to institutional racism.

    As evidence in the news, people are uniting to bring a stop to this injustice. Global protest efforts give us hope that overdue change will happen, and our college strongly supports this cry for justice. With a motto of being “together for the greater good,” we have long recognized the need and importance of establishing a community of inclusivity. While we are committed to creating an environment that treats everyone equally, we want to be clear that this includes creating an environment that supports and values the Black community. We are a proud entity that does not tolerate or condone any acts of discrimination, bigotry, or racism and our motto reflects this. Any said action has no place in our institution.

    The advancement of our college cannot happen without the valuable input, insight, and contributions of all members. To ensure that all voices are heard and that our college reflects the cultural richness of our global society, it established a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee that has been working on initiatives, since its creation, to increase representation within the college at the student, faculty, and staff levels. At this time, the Committee has decided upon the following actions to help ensure our college remains a place of inclusion:

    We will work with the FIU Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access, and the FIU Division of Human Resources to establish a means on the Stempel College website for students, faculty, and staff to anonymously disclose/report any forms of discrimination or unfair treatment observed or personally encountered.

    • We will increase the visibility of resources that are currently in place, including access to a university Ombudsperson, to help students, faculty, and staff with reporting or addressing matters of discrimination and/or unfair treatment.
    • We will educate all of our incoming students on all available resources that exist to address and/or report actions of discrimination.
    • We are prioritizing educating our leaders of tomorrow with the skillsets and awareness they need to be racially competent professionals. To ensure this, our curricula, across all disciplines and degree levels, will contain rich content on systemic racism and its impact on health and wellbeing.
    • We will initiate conversations with community partners about how Stempel College can serve as a resource to address and mitigate the effects of racism and discrimination.
    • We will intentionally recruit faculty and staff who are black and from other underrepresented groups to create a more diverse and inclusive research and learning environment.

    While this list highlights our initiatives, these action items are far from comprehensive and more are in development. This Committee’s actions are more than a promise but a commitment that we, as a college, will uphold not just now but for years to come in the future. As a conglomerate of allied health professionals, we have a responsibility to not only solve complicated health and social welfare issues but to also serve the most underserved populations affected by them. May our college, anchored in serving underserved communities, be a leader and example through our actions on this social justice issue and through the bold steps that we take to combat it.

  • Stempel College Diversity Data 2020-2021

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College students by Degree Level

    Stempel College Students by Degree Level

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College First Generation Students (undergrads only)

    Stempel College First Generation Students (undergrads only)

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College Faculty

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College Faculty

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College Staff

    Race/Ethnicity and Gender Breakdown of Stempel College Staff

    Cross Comparison of Stempel College Faculty/Student Diversity Data

    Cross Comparison of Stempel College Faculty/Student Diversity Data

  • Resources

    The university has the following channels for students, staff, and faculty to report concerns related to discrimination or unfair treatment, observed or personally encountered.

    FIU Discrimination Complaint Processing Form

    At Florida International University, if any student, employee, or applicant has a good faith belief that they have been discriminated against or harassed based on age, color, disability, gender, marital status, ethnic or national origin, race, religion, retaliation, sex or any other protected category, the Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Accessibility (CRCA) encourages them to use the resources below to report the incident.

    Report a Concern

    Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form

    Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Reporting Form


    University Ombudsperson – Student

    The University Ombudsperson provides a forum for students to discuss and identify options to resolve student issues with faculty, staff, departments, or programs. The Ombudsman helps students who have encountered problems or conflicts within the University, particularly problems not being adequately addressed through normal channels, or which processes and procedures seem incapable of, or are causing an inordinate delay in resolving. The Ombudsman may resolve problems through various methods, including making inquiries or referrals to the appropriate University department for review.

    Contact information:

    Sofia Trelles, Student Ombudsperson
    Graham Center 219
    Email: Ombuds@fiu.edu
    Phone: 305-348-2797

    University Ombudsperson – Faculty

    The primary duties of an organizational ombudsperson are (1) to work with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution.

    An organizational ombudsman operates in a manner to preserve the confidentiality of those seeking services, maintains a neutral/impartial position with respect to the concerns raised, works at an informal level of the organizational system, and is independent of formal organizational structures. Successfully fulfilling that primary function in a manner consistent with the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice requires a number of activities on the part of the ombudsman while precluding others.

    Contact information:

    Lauren Christos

    International Student and Scholar Services

    The mission of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services is to promote campus internationalization by providing service excellence related to immigration compliance and procedures, and comprehensively supporting the academic, social, and professional success of all our international students and scholars to ensure their seamless integration into our university community.

    FIU Support Services and Initiatives

    Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
    Florida International University aims to provide every member of its community with equal access to all its programs. The Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access (formerly Equal Opportunity Programs and Diversity) assists with achieving this goal by coordinating the University Access and Equity Committee (A&E). Committee members are appointed by the president and are charged with monitoring the implementation of the University’s Affirmative Action Plan as well as making insightful recommendations for improvement. The University Access and Equity Committee is comprised of FIU faculty, administrators, and staff from the Modesto A. Maidique, Biscayne Bay, and Pines Center campuses. Its members are men and women, some of whom may have a disability, who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the University community. Representatives from Academic Affairs, Human Resources, and Planning and Institutional Effectiveness serve as ex-officio members of the committee. Additionally, some subcommittees include representation of administrators, students, and faculty who, while not official members of the Committee, assist in their areas of interest and expertise.

    Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity
    AWED develops and manages a wide range of programs to promote faculty equity, diversity and inclusion, including workshops and trainings to improve faculty hiring and promotion processes, faculty mentoring, and interdisciplinary networking.

    Multicultural Programs and Services
    Multicultural Programs and Services (MPAS) celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion by creating a campus community that encourages social responsibility, honors equality, and foster student success.

    FIU Counseling and Professional Services
    Counseling and Psychological Services’ mission is to provide mental health services to students that will facilitate and enhance their personal learning, emotional well-being and academic skills development. CAPS is committed to providing consultation to the FIU community affected by threatened or actual violence and promoting the ability to live a full, rich life.

    Center for Women’s and Gender Studies
    The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies bolsters the university’s reputation for excellence and relevance in the 21st century by fostering intellectual exchange, creative pursuits, social justice advocacy, and global perspectives.

    Women’s Center at FIU
    The Women’s Center at FIU was established to provide FIU students with programs and services related to their intellectual, professional, and personal growth. The Women’s Center collaborates and coordinates with other University departments and student organizations to meet the needs and enhance the lives of the varied female population on campus. We educate and advocate for systemic changes that will improve the lives of everyone at FIU.

    Veteran and Military Affairs
    This office is available to assist you in receiving your educational benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are also available to assist you in areas that will assure your academic success. Our main goal is to provide educational benefits and support to Veterans, Active Duty, Reservists, eligible dependents and spouses enrolled at FIU.

    LGBTQA Initiatives
    We work to create an environment of empowerment, affirmation, and inclusion for LGBTQA* students, faculty, and staff at Florida International University through education, advocacy, and celebration.

    Student Access & Success: Ronald McNair Program
    The McNair Scholars Program is a Federal TRiO program designed to prepare students from low income, first-generation, and traditionally under-represented groups for doctoral studies.

    FIU Embrace
    FIU Embrace is a university-wide initiative that promotes health, wellness, and overall functioning for adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities (ID), and other neurodevelopmental disorders (OND). It seeks to help these persons lead healthy lives and maximize their individual potential across their lifespan.

    FIU Black Graduate Healing Space
    This is a virtual event, co-sponsored and facilitated by Black therapists in Counseling And Professional Services and is specifically for Black graduate students (master's and doctoral) to address the unique challenges Black and African American graduate students face at FIU.

    Disability Resource Center
    As your partners in success, we are committed to you. Serving as the one-stop-shop for your disability service needs, the DRC provides the resources to facilitate a smooth transition to university life. By providing one-on-one consultation throughout your academic journey at FIU, our DRC staff is a specialized resource for you.
    The DRC website is just one of the many resources available so that students with disabilities can access all that FIU has to offer throughout our diverse academic community.

    FIU LGBTQIA Initiatives
    We work to create an environment of empowerment, affirmation, and inclusion for LGBTQA+ students, faculty, and staff at FIU through education, advocacy, and celebration.

    The Goal
    The goal is to provide all LGBTQA+ panthers with the resources and support they need to reach their fullest potential here at FIU and beyond. We accomplish this through:

    We educate ourselves and others to ensure everyone at FIU knows how to best affirm and support our LGBTQA+ panthers. Our staff stay relevant through research and evaluation, professional development opportunities, and on- and off-campus partnership-building. We turn the knowledge we gain into trainings and events that educate faculty, staff, and students on various gender and sexuality topics. Students, faculty, and staff can join our Social Justice Badge Program, request Programs on Demand (e.g., Gender Pronoun Use), and learn from our LGBTQA+ Student Panelists who serve as on-call educators. Faculty and staff may individually sign up for our voluntary 2-hour Safe Zone training designed to equip them with basic knowledge and resources to affirm and support LGBTQA+ people at FIU.

    We are committed to ensuring LGBTQA+ students succeed here at FIU. This means listening to students’ needs and working alongside them to develop the policies that affect them. We provide resources, support, and opportunities that empower students to become effective self-advocates. Our LGBTQA+ Mentorship Program trains faculty, staff, and graduate student volunteers to serve as advocates, guides, and role models in the positive development of LGBTQA+ students’ academic and non-academic lives. If there is something our office cannot immediately provide, we refer students to additional services (e.g., PanthersCare, Fostering Panther Pride, CAPS/VEP, and Financial Aid) and follow up to ensure their needs were met.

    We work to establish a strong sense of belonging to FIU among our LGBTQA+ students through the celebration of who they are and what they accomplish. We do this through our Out & Proud Scholarship program, organizing events such as Coming Out Day and participating in Miami Beach Pride, and holding a special Lavender Graduation ceremony to honor our LGBTQA+ graduates each semester.