Action steps to address racism and racial inequities

University Community — July 16, 2020

Action steps to address racism and racial inequities

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Racism and racial inequities must be addressed with sustained action, and we stand united in our commitment to create lasting change. While these problems are persistent, the terrible events that have taken place this year have reinforced the need to act now and into the future to bend the arc of history toward justice.

Today, we are writing to share updates about three key elements of our action plan. We have established:

  • A university-wide task force on racism and racial inequities to provide tangible recommendations to create a more equitable, healthy, supportive, and nurturing community. This 17-member group, which includes students, faculty and staff, will be engaging broadly with the Ohio State community to identify and propose action steps.
  • A $1 million seed fund for interdisciplinary research and creative work that can contribute to the elimination of racism and solve its underlying causes and consequences. With an emphasis on impact, projects will be required to include substantive involvement of community partners.
  • An Anti-Racism Action Plan that engages the Wexner Medical Center and the health sciences colleges to address racism as a social determinant of health. The Anti-Racism Action Plan will accelerate structural and systemic change supporting equity in health and well-being.

These initiatives were launched with the expectation that each will generate a multitude of action steps that will take root on our campuses and in our community for generations to come. Above all, each is designed to confront racism and racial inequities with specific, practical solutions.

Beyond these enterprise-scale initiatives, many colleges and units throughout the university and medical center have begun planning specific steps to address racism within their areas of focus. We support these efforts and will continue to look for opportunities to coordinate, connect and scale up the most promising ideas.

In addition to these steps, the university last month announced a number of immediate and long-term steps to address concerns about public safety, including the creation of a Public Safety Advisory Committee composed of Ohio State students, faculty, staff and other critical non-university stakeholders.

Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities

The co-chairs of the task force — James L. Moore III, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, and Tom Gregoire, dean of the College of Social Work — have committed to work that is focused on engagement and action.

The task force has been asked to propose “serious, achievable action steps that will advance principles of and promote an equitable, healthy, supportive and nurturing university community.”

Other elements of the charge include hosting inclusive, candid conversations about racism; identifying aspects of Ohio State that contribute to inequities and differential outcomes; identifying effective practices that address these problems; and transcending prior approaches.

Vice Provost Moore and Dean Gregoire are working with the task force members to begin their work and develop a process that invites the broader Ohio State community to participate in the discussion.

“We will seize this moment by leveraging our Buckeye community to make lasting change. We are committed to engaging our Ohio State community and searching for meaningful action,” Vice Provost Moore and Dean Gregoire said.

See the task force website for the full charge and list of members.

Seed Fund for Racial Justice

This week, the university is extending a call for proposals from principal investigators for research and creative projects that address structural or institutional racism; implicit bias and privilege; and racial and cultural disparities.

The $1 million Seed Fund for Racial Justice has a clear call to action: “Ohio State has both the opportunity and the responsibility to lead reconciliation and drive transformational and sustainable change at this pivotal moment in our nation’s history.”

The first set of grants will be awarded in December 2020. Ohio State will issue grants of up to $50,000 in two phases over the next two years.

To review the request for proposals and apply, see the Office of Research website.

Anti-Racism Action Plan to improve health equity

The Wexner Medical Center and health science colleges have made “anti-racism efforts our very foundation” in declaring racism a social determinant of health that is damaging to our community, patients, faculty, staff and trainees.

The Anti-Racism Action Plan to improve health equity involves five key actions: to elevate the cause of anti-racism; engage our faculty, staff, students, patients and communities with opportunities to learn and participate; equip team members with tools, resources and communication channels; empower people to address racism; and evaluate and review efforts regularly.

For more information, see the Anti-Racism Action Plan website.


Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President
and Provost

Harold L. Paz, MD, MS
Executive Vice President and Chancellor for Health Affairs
CEO, Wexner Medical Center