Social Justice Action Committee

This summer, Interim Dean Everette James charged the associate dean for diversity and inclusion with the creation of a Social Justice Action Committee, that would confront systemic and structural racism at Pitt Public Health and beyond by developing systematic solutions and actionable recommendations to achieve social justice and racial equity and bring about transformative change. 


  • Noble Maseru (Chair)
  • Brenda Diergaarde (Co-Chair)
  • Tina Batra Hershey (Co-Chair)
  • Aaron Barchowsky
  • Andre Brown
  • Jeanine Buchanich
  • Mackey Friedman
  • Tiffany Gary-Webb
  • Mary Hawk
  • Marian Jarlenski
  • Robin Leaf
  • Serwaa Omowale
  • Mary Brady 

Work Group Recommendations

In July, the committee convened work groups of faculty, staff, and students to share their experiences and suggestions for actionable recommendations and systemic solutions.

Over 60 people were randomly assigned to focus on curriculum, HR/hiring, and culture. There was also a heterogeneity work group that worked across these themes. Input from a digital comment box was incorporated for those that wished to remain anonymous or otherwise weren't able to join a work group. 

Read the Recommendations

The recommendations were submitted to Interim Dean James and to Senior Vice Chancellor Shekar and were met with good reception. 

SJAC Town Hall

"Words of outrage are meaningless without action."

The recommendations were presented to the Pitt Public Health community, including: creation of a Pitt Public Health Office of Diversity and Inclusion, pipeline programs, and a culture of transparency to address culture. In terms of hiring, resources need to be allocated to recruiting and mentoring and we need to recognize the value of community and social justice work as a school, including through retention of our current students, faculty, and staff. In the area of curriculum the work groups recommended an outside evaluation of the current curriculum to inform update and direct addressing of specific circumstances that have caused distrust.   

The Pitt Public Health community was asked to comment on and help to prioritize the recommendations. A discussion was moderated by James Huguley, interim director of the Center for Race and Social Problems at the School of Social Work. Highlights of the discussion include: 

  • connecting this work to the community
  • evaluation/measurement and accountability
  • synergy with other schools of the health sciences, SVC, University, community 
  • diversity education 
  • pipeline programs
"It took us 400 Years to get into this situation, it's going to take all hands on deck to get out."

Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Tiffany Gary-WebbTiffany Gary-Webb

Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Associate Director, Center for Health Equity
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the Dean

The associate dean for diversity and inclusion serves as the primary advisor to the administration, faculty, students, and staff on the school's inclusion and diversity initiatives. She provides strategic direction and consultation and is responsible for developing and implementing strategic goals and commitments related to inclusion and diversity that align with the dean's strategic plans and identified priorities. She researches the school's programs and current populations to determine diversity issues among the faculty, staff, and students. She is also responsible for leading the development of a diversity plan for accreditation and implementing the recommendations of the new Social Justice Action Committee.

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