To help address health disparities among black and Hispanic communities, Indiana University is establishing public health and safety programs as well as a Pandemic Health Disparities Fund. The university says its efforts include special screening and testing, mental health services and broader student wellness programs for black and Hispanic students returning for the fall semester.
IU says the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund was created with the support of $1 million from the IU Office of the President. Aside from the new programming, the fund will help further address the needs of black and Hispanic students at IU.
“About 15,000 students at Indiana University are African American or Hispanic, consequently making them potentially more at risk than the rest of the university population,” said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. “This is a matter of great concern to us. While there is much work to be done in our society to reduce the disproportionate burden of COVID-19, these new programs will help to ensure our campuses deliver essential health and wellness resources to a vulnerable segment of the IU community.”
IU says it has also established a programming committee of faculty and staff representing the areas of medicine, public health, psychological counseling, and other health sciences. The committee, under Wimbush’s guidance, will provide recommendations on programming components of the fund.
In addition to Wimbush, IU’s Pandemic Health Disparities Fund committee members include:
- Raquel Anderson, professor of speech, language and hearing sciences and director of the STEPS Program, IU Bloomington.
- Karen Dace, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, IUPUI.
- Rosalyn Davis, clinical associate professor/faculty diversity liaison in the Department of Psychology and director of the Mental Health Counseling Program, IU Kokomo.
- Marshelia Harris, assistant professor in the Division of Social Work, IU Northwest.
- Denise Hayes, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, IU Bloomington.
- Joyce Rogers, vice president for development and external relations for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and Indiana University Foundation, and chair of the Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County.
- Wanda Thruston, clinical assistant professor in the IU School of Nursing, IUPUI.
- Veronica Medina, associate professor in the Sociology Department and faculty diversity coordinator for academic affairs, IU Southeast.
- John Nieto-Phillips, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and associate professor in the Department of History and Latino Studies, IU Bloomington.
- Antonio Williams, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Public Health, IU Bloomington.