Drexel University in Philadelphia has announced a $9 million gift from alumna Dana Dornsife ('83) and her husband, David, to establish a Center on Racism and Health.
The gift to the Dornsife School of Public Health will fund the center's launch, the hiring of two faculty members whose work is focused on racial inequities in health, and an endowment for the deanship for public health. Leveraging the strengths of the Dornsife School's various departments as well as the university's Urban Health Collaborative and other partners, the center will work to advance multidisciplinary, anti-racist public health research and scholarship rooted in an historical context, contemporary theoretical frameworks, and rigorous methods; provide anti-racist public health education and training opportunities for students and public health professionals; and foster engagement in anti-racist practice and advocacy.
The couple's most recent gift brings their total support for the university to more than $70 million, including a commitment of $45 million in 2015 to name the School of Public Health, $10 million in 2012 to establish the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, and gifts to establish the Dana and David Dornsife Office of Experiential Learning and Dornsife Global Development Scholars program.
"Grounded in the lived experiences of those most directly impacted by racism, this [c]enter will provide an opportunity for innovation and impact in addressing the root causes of racial health inequities in Philadelphia and beyond," said assistant professor Sharrelle Barber, who chairs the center's planning group. "This year has brought into sharp focus the deadly consequences of racism and the critical need for academic initiatives that provide dedicated spaces to engage in rigorous, multidisciplinary scholarship and training and collective action with communities to understand these processes and spearhead evidence-driven policy and advocacy that combats the health consequences and inequities of racism."
(Photo credit: Drexel University)