Thapa named CPH Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Janani R. Thapa has been named Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the University of Georgia College of Public Health. She will guide the College’s initiatives to foster a culture of belonging for CPH faculty, staff, and students.

The heart of this effort will be creating a plan to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of the College.

An associate professor in the College’s department of health policy and management, Thapa has demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in her teaching and research.

“I have seen Dr. Thapa’s commitment to addressing health disparities and antiracism both in her research and in our College, and, along with her passion, she is an evaluator who will hold us accountable in meeting our goals,” said Marsha Davis, dean of the College of Public Health.

Much of Thapa’s research has focused on evaluating health policies and understanding how a complex network of factors create unequal outcomes for people and communities.

“One intervention does not work for all. One way does not work for all,” said Thapa. “We need to be careful to integrate all voices where we can.”

This is why she was excited to see the College develop and adopt a new mission and set of values that included diversity, equity, and inclusion in 2020, under the leadership of Dean Davis.

“We will be at a better place by valuing the diversity that we have in the College and being able to work with individuals who may have a different perspective than you, who may have a different culture than you, but collectively we are, we are better,” said Thapa.

In her role, Thapa will be facilitating hard conversations about where the College has room to grow and improve in the classroom and in its operations to support all members of the CPH community.

“It’s first important to acknowledge that there are issues, and we have acknowledged that. Then there are actions to be taken to get to where we want to be,” said Thapa. Her role, she says, is to make sure those actions happen.

“We can’t address issues outside the College until we address ourselves. Through our strategic plan, the work of Dr. Thapa, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, College leadership and every single one of our faculty, staff, and students, we can transform the culture in our College, making equity, diversity, inclusion, justice, and antiracism central to our operations and our mission,” said dean Marsha Davis.

The College begins recruiting faculty, staff, and students to participate in the strategic planning process in August/September.

– Lauren Baggett

Posted on Monday, August 16, 2021.