Honoring Black History Month

February 3, 2023

Message sent on behalf of Dean M. Daniele Fallin

Dear Rollins Community, 

Black History Month provides a dedicated time to remember and celebrate the contributions, achievements, and experiences of generations of Black people in this nation and beyond. This year, Black History Month also serves as a stark reminder of the severe public health crisis facing our nation through a cyclical legacy of systemic racism and violence. Tyre Nichols’ recent, tragic death epitomizes the urgency of this issue. 

Tyre’s violent murder was both shocking and all too familiar, but that does not lessen the trauma affiliated with this shared and senseless loss. If you are seeking extra connection and support right now, your fellow Rollins community members are here to listen, as are our colleagues across the university who offer mental health resources and support through the Faculty Staff Assistance Program Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. In addition, CAPS offers support group options (non-clinical, offered to all Emory students) and one therapy group (clinical) designed to specifically support Black students. Students can register for support groups here. For therapy groups, students can call CAPS at 404-727-7450 to schedule an initial appointment and ask their counselor about a pre-group interview to determine whether a specific group is the right fit for their needs. 

As a community with a shared interest in public health and in each other’s well-being, we must remain empathetic in our interactions with one another and build on a culture of respect and understanding that is culturally sensitive and cognizant of the trauma that accompanies structural racism and discrimination that is both inclusive of and goes beyond anti-Black racism. 

We must also remain invested in fighting inequities and hatred through advocacy, research, and collaboration. Our school is home to a brilliant array of people who are contributing impactful knowledge and thought leadership to issues affecting the health and well-being of Black people including: the impact of racism on heart disease in Black women; race-related police violence; breast cancer inequities for Black women; organ and tissue donation among Black women; racial and ethnic disparities in HIV; broad health implications of racism, including those associated with stress and trauma; and more. 

Among our own Rollins community, we continue to work towards an anti-racist agenda for our education, research, practice, and culture. Over the past year, our school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committees have led a number of activities in an effort to improve our work and learning environment including launching and evaluating the DEI Curriculum Assessment Tool and expanding our DEI Student Orientation Module and subsequent student-led discussions. We have 7 departmental/unit-specific DEI committees with dedicated members who have elevated the mission of DEI and anti-racism at the department levels via seminars, listening sessions, retreats, mentoring, educational tools, infographics, search committee process revisions, and across research activities. Also, through school-wide engagement, we have addressed concerns raised in a student demand letter issued in 2020. We have much to still do, but are proud to be actively engaged in making Rollins the best environment to work and learn and a place known for its intentional focus on anti-racism in our research, education, and practice.  

This is a high priority for me as dean. I look forward to advancing our anti-racist culture together, and celebrating the incredible people advancing Black health this month, and every month. 



M. Daniele Fallin, PhD
James W. Curran Dean of Public Health
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University