Action Plan and Progress

Read through our action plan to review our activities in support of the DEI goals at the school. The Friedman School’s Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion also sends out periodic updates to the school community.

Action Item: Foster a culture of openness and self-reflection

  • For Indigenous People’s Day 2020, the Academic Dean requested that fall Monday instructors hold classes asynchronously only or reschedule synchronous sessions so that the day could be observed.
  • Open office hours were established with the School’s senior leadership.
  • The Bridging Differences Dialogue Series workgroup (Carine Tarazi and Jess Cote) redesigned the dialogues and planned for implementation.
  • Events:
    • Community Conversations on Current Events & Racism, led by Adriana Black and Sara
      Folta, 3 & 4 June 2020
    • Decolonizing Academia: Poverty, Oppression, and Pain book discussion, led by doctoral students Violeta Chacón and Angélica Valdés Valderrama, 22 July 2020
    • Community Conversation on Actions for Racial Justice, led by Adriana Black and Sara Folta, 27 August 2020
    • Indigenous Peoples’ Day film screening of Gather followed by discussion with Danielle Hill, a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member who appears in the film, organized by an SJID subcommittee (Adriana Black, Elena Martinez, Nicole Blackstone, Larry Parnell, and Edwin Ortega), 12 October 2020
    • Book discussion sessions of How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi, organized by an SJID subcommittee (Annie DeVane, Ellen-Marie Bransfield, Emma Groves Baldacci, and Sarah Laves), 19 November 2020

Action Item: Encourage all in our community to speak up if they experience or witness bias or intolerance in action

  • Bias Education and Resource Teams were formed for the Medford and Health Sciences campuses.  They are designed to respond to incidents of bias and hate crimes with education and programming, in coordination with the Office of Equal Opportunity and the President’s office. Matt Hast was appointed as the Friedman representative.
  • Anonymous reporting system: the ADDI met with representative from the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) regarding an anonymous reporting system. Implementing a Friedman-specific system would be fraught with legal issues and the advice was to promote the existing university-wide OEO instead. The OEO representative then attended a combined SJID/Student Alliance meeting to discuss ways to better promote the current system.

Action Item: Create an inclusive physical environment, including related to photos, posters, and other printed and electronic materials posted in public spaces at the School

  • Orsolya Szabo is taking the lead on creating an inclusive physical environment at 150 Harrison Ave. She has met with many different groups at Friedman and is using the feedback to develop a plan – just in time as we prepare to return to campus in the fall.
  • A ChildObesity180 subcommittee (Courtney King, Deanna Nappi, Ana Maafs) has been working on 75 Kneeland St. Since we were not able to be in person, they put together a Resource Guide for Creating an Inclusive Virtual Space.

Action Item: Establish a process to welcome local community members to Friedman School events such as the Speaker Series

  • The Speaker Series, led by Jiantao Ma, is working on a plan to invite and promote the series to the surrounding community, including the wider Chinatown community and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)-serving community groups.

Action Item: Train all members of our Friedman community including our leadership team, faculty, students, and staff to actively combat racism

  • Tufts University Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sponsored the National Anti-Racism Teach-In (free for all Tufts community members), 10-12 August 2020.
  • Friedman senior leadership, along with university leadership, attended anti-racism training by Soul Focused, January 2021.
  • ADDI and Adriana Black attended Soul Fire Farm’s Uprooting Racism training to evaluate it for training the Friedman community, April 2021.
  • A university-wide mandatory training for all faculty, staff, and students has been proposed, reviewed, and approved by University leadership, and implementation is expected in the coming year.

Action Item: Work with the University to review and, as necessary, update the Tufts Police policies on use of force

Action Item: Work with the University’s central administration to prioritize procurement from Black-owned businesses

  • Krissy Day, Friedman’s Director of Business Operations, provided a broad audit of School purchasing, which is predominantly catering. Options for supporting Black-owned restaurants will be explored once in-person events are taking place.
  • Deans Mozaffarian and Kleifgen have raised this issue with Tufts’ central administration.

How are we creating a welcoming and open environment for all?

From the physical space to school culture, we're making sure that Friedman is a place where we all belong.

Action Item: Integrate issues of structural racism and equity into all courses in our curriculum

  • Fall 2020 course preparation:
    • Anti-racist teaching resources were integrated into overall resources for fall preparation.
    • CELT workshops were actively promoted to Friedman faculty. CELT Associate Director attended summer drop-in sessions for faculty.
  • C&D’s Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee was formed, led by Nicole Blackstone and including Jennie Coates, Shibani Ghosh, Kate Schneider (as an alum), and Ryan Rideau from CELT. It has started work on integrating issues of systemic racism and injustice in the food system into courses and the curriculum overall.
  • The Friedman Speaker Series developed a plan to increase Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) speakers via collecting suggestions for speakers from the general Friedman community and consulting SJID and the Student Alliance for Social Justice and Racial Equity.
  • SJID raised funds for equity-focused internships on Giving Tuesday (November 2020).
  • The Mozaffarian Family Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was created through the generosity of Dean Mozaffarian and his family. Funding is given annually to a Friedman School student or group of Friedman School students to support their efforts to lead projects that will assess, enhance, expand, and support diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in the Friedman School, university, and/or the community. There are two inaugural recipients of the fund:
    • Ricardo Moreno, a Food and Nutrition Policy and Programs Master of Science student who is creating a program for students of color in the Boston area to support healthy nutrition and fitness.
    • A student group (Alexandria Schmall, Angelica Valdes Valderrama, Beth Williams and Yanlin Ren) who organized a Food Systems Dialogue panel in alignment with the UN Food Systems Summit. The panel featured BIPOC food systems leaders who presented on how their work is improving food sovereignty, food justice, and nutrition in BIPOC communities.

Action Item: Cultivate an inclusive classroom environment

  • C&D’s Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee will develop principles and strategies to ensure inclusive classrooms.
  • In a directed study titled “Understanding Social Change through Theory and Practice,” four master’s students learned theories, tactics, and skills necessary to build community and mobilize citizens to change minds and policies (Fall 2020).

How can we weave equity and anti-racism into the academic fabric of the school?

We've been re-evaluating every course, creating new areas of study, and providing faculty with resources and training.

Action Item: Value and reward teaching, scholarship, and service that focus on racism, disparities, and social justice

  • School leadership and the Division Chairs developed an updated faculty expectation framework.
  • A subcommittee of the Academic Cabinet developed a structure for faculty mentoring.
  • The appointments, promotions, and tenure procedures are being reviewed to ensure that they best support equity for faculty of color.

How do we support faculty success for all?

We value teaching and scholarship that addresses disparities and have developed a new structure for faculty mentoring.

Action Item: Recruit and retain to achieve greater diversity among faculty, staff, and students, including a focus on Black, indigenous, and people of color

  • In Spring 2021, the Friedman School launched the Scholarship Challenge, which provides donors with an opportunity to invest in the future of nutrition. Donors create endowed scholarships that support doctoral students or those that build the diversity of our student body.  Tufts provides 40% toward the scholarships established.  We are grateful to the donors who have established scholarships so far aimed at supporting underrepresented groups in the nutrition field, including:
    • Friedman School Advisor Ted Mayer, who created the Mayer Deford Scholarship to support Friedman School Service Scholars. “We give in order to encourage the bold, rigorous, and action-oriented scholarship that will forge the future of the field,” says Mr. Mayer. “The challenge allows us to leverage our contribution for maximum impact.”
    • An anonymous donor created the International Leaders Scholarship, which aims to support international students who are from a low-income and lower middle-income countries as classified by the World Bank.
  • The Service Scholars program was expanded. This program creates institutional relationships with and provides matching scholarships for applicants from service programs including AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Teach for America, City Year, and the U.S. military, and creates leadership activities at the School following student enrollment.
  • Thomas Wise was hired as a new Senior Recruiting & Marketing Specialist; a major focus of his work will be the recruitment of groups underrepresented in nutrition.
  • The GRE was permanently made optional.
  • Friedman’s new Ellie Block and Family Career Services Center includes information specifically for international students, women, BIPOC students, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities.
  • Master’s student Ricardo Moreno is developing a pipeline program that will provide tutoring to students in Boston Public Schools. Implementation targeted for Fall 2021.
  • A workgroup is working on a Staff Hiring Manual (led by Courtney King, includes Krissy Day, and Hannah Macfarlane).
  • A workgroup led by Patty Dawson Gregg (as Academic and Faculty Affairs Officer) finalized the Faculty Hiring Manual.

How are working to ensure a diverse and representative pool of applicants, employees, and faculty members?

We're focusing on fundraising, hiring processes, and pipeline programs, in addition to building new relationships and strengthening current ones.

Action Item: Expand focus on structural racism, diversity, and equity in our research efforts

  • Friedman’s Food and Nutrition Innovation Institute was launched with the mission of fostering a robust, science-driven ecosystem of food, agricultural, and wellness innovation and entrepreneurship for a healthier, equitable, and sustainable food system.
  • The Sponsored Research Administration team created database of funding opportunities that support this work.
  • The team also worked with individual faculty to identify grant opportunities related to structural racism and health inequities.
  • ADDI worked with divisions on potential establishment of guidelines for promoting equity, inclusion, and community partnership within all domestic and international research at Friedman.

How can we ensure that the intellectual output of the school translates in impactful ways to the world?

We have the power to shape the direction of our research, and we are providing resources and support to the Friedman community.

Dean Dariush Mozaffarian joined the President's Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council

Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Sara Folta, PhD was appointed to the Tufts University Cabinet on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Friedman School community members participated in the five workstreams created from the Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution initiative

Five workstreams, as part of the Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution strategic initiative, were highly active in the Fall and will present and implementation plan in 2021.

  • Krissy Day served on the Institutional Audit and Targeted Actions workstream, which worked to identify where structural racism may exist within processes, policies, programs and procedures across all schools and units of the University through a broad audit, focus groups, and interviews; to learn what anti-racism-related actions and efforts are already underway; and to recommend prioritized targeted actions to remove any structural racism and include ongoing accountability across Tufts.
  • Nirupa Matthan served on the Compositional Diversity workstream, whose charge was to present data gathered in 4 areas (faculty, staff, students, and administration) on Tufts’ current compositional diversity along with historical data and context; and to identify key areas at which efforts are achievable improvement should be focused and suggest strategies for that improvement.
  • Sara Folta, the school’s ADDI, chaired a subcommittee on graduate and professionals students for the workstream on Equity and Inclusion. The workstream focused on curricula and ensuring that issues of equity and inclusion are addressed in classrooms and all non- classroom learning spaces and throughout the Tufts community.
  • Many individual members of the Friedman community (staff, faculty, students, and alumni) participated in one-on-one feedback sessions with consultants hired by Tufts University

How are we aligning our work at the school with the larger DEI goals at Tufts University?

By working closely with the larger Tufts University community, the progress we make can be shared across campus.