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Antiracism Faculty Fellowships

Addressing health inequities requires the expertise of those from the most impacted communities and populations. To advance social justice and antiracism in our SPH much work must be performed by faculty and this burden inequitably falls on faculty from currently and historically marginalized and oppressed groups.

To shift these inequities in labor and provide needed support for faculty on the front-lines of antiracist, decolonizing efforts, we have created the Antiracism Faculty Fellowships. We believe that this investment of resources demonstrates strong commitment towards achieving institutional change. Further, we believe that providing this level of philanthropic support for our fellows is one concrete step towards fundamentally shifting the entrenched ways in which our institution maintains a culture of white supremacy.

Expanding Equity and Inclusion:
Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies At Portland State University – Fellowship


  • Kai Hang Cheang
  • Alma Trinidad

  • Bree Kalima
  • Motutama Sipelii

  • Ava Kupperman
  • Duncan Hwang


Misconceptions spawned by the model minority myth- a racist stereotype that depicts Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) as well-educated, upwardly mobile, and successfully assimilated- have long invisibilized the unique forms of racism and inequalities AAPIs experience.

At PSU the invisibility of these populations is reflected in the absence of AAPI Studies within the School of Gender, Race, and Nations. More than 13% of PSU students identify as AAPI. Yet, they remain grossly underserved in terms of curricula. With only a handful of courses in Asian American Studies and none in Pacific Islander Studies, PSU has failed to deliver culturally responsive pedagogy for its AAPI students and to introduce all students to AAPI Studies as part of critical conversations about race and social justice. This absence ignores and minimizes the struggles of AAPIs and their important contributions to the development of Oregon and the United States.

Dismantling White supremacy and settler colonialism requires an understanding of the full complexity of US racial formations, including the intersections between Indigenous dispossession, imperialism, and Asian racialization, as well as the rich diversity of AAPI histories, perspectives, and contributions. Expanding Equity and Inclusion will address this gap in culturally responsive, anti-racist pedagogy for AAPI students through course development, strategic planning to establishing AAPI Studies, and programming that highlights AAPI perspectives. The project is led by faculty, staff, and students from across campus and APANO (Asian Pacific Network of Oregon), the state’s leading AAPI grassroots advocacy organization.

Imagining A Healthy and Equitable Future For Childbirth:
A Novel Public Health Framework – Fellowship


  • Melissa Cheney


US childbirth outcomes are poor by international standards and marred by persistent racial/ ethnic
inequity. Like the rest of the US, the public health field has recently been grappling with the entrenched forces of white supremacy and settler colonialism. But what if the established research tools and frameworks that we use in studying birthing health are part of the problem?

Audre Lorde teaches us that “poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.” Lorde’s
advocacy for the power of poetry needs to be taken both literally and symbolically, including in public health research. In our field, we need to do better at exploring hopes and dreams. Health equity will not just materialize if we run enough regressions, write enough abstracts, and evaluate enough programs. Progress toward equity requires imagination: devoting time and intentionality to dream of healthier and more equitable futures.

Health research is currently funded and evaluated based on familiar and well-worn methods and frameworks, but Lorde also teaches us that “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” and these tools have serious limitations (e.g., deficit-based thinking, extractive and tokenizing approaches to “community engagement,” hiding research behind paywalls and inaccessible language).

What could childbirth research look like if time and space were devoted to defining and implementing justice-centered processes and values? In this project, we explore the intersections between imagination, data science and ethnography to re-envision an alternate way of being, doing and disseminating birth justice research.

Funding Ongoing Service In Gender Minority Health By A Transgender Faculty – Fellowship



Gender minority individuals and populations of all kinds have historically been rendered invisible in clinical and public health practice and research through both practices of representation which collapse sex and gender into a single sex/gender binary, and even through reductive representations of transgender as other. These erasures create:

  1. Clinical services perceived as threatening or hostile to gender minorities;
  2. An absence of even rudimentary population health surveillance, and therefore intervention;
  3. A lack of training of the public health & clinical health professional work force in inclusion of
    gender minority persons.

Because gender minority experiences intersect with other forms of marginalization such as racism, poverty and lack of education, centering gender minority perspectives, and elevating gender minority experiences is one example of how improving society by making it better serve the most vulnerable.

I have been organizing, leading and supporting community-centered and participatory work to justly and accurately represent gender minorities in the clinic and in research. My collaborators have included local and state health departments, medical professional associations, and gender minority advocacy groups. My ongoing work includes collaboration with the National Hemophilia Foundation to prioritize research in service of gender minority access and quality of care in the blood disorders community, ongoing collaboration with OHA’s work on standardizing measures of sexual orientation, sexual anatomy and physiology, gender identity, and transgender status (similar to REAL-D), collaboration with OHSU and OHSU-PSU students confronting the sex/gender binary from a gender minority-centering perspective, and other projects serving gender minority health.

Incorporating Data Equity Into Biostatistics Curriculum – Fellowship


Data equity refers to the consideration, through an equity lens, of the ways in which data are collected, analyzed, interpreted, and distributed. It is a practice needed for all public health researchers and practitioners. Given that biostatistics plays an important role in virtually every step of the “data life cycle,” teaching these concepts to students is a critical component for an antiracist and inclusive biostatistics curriculum.

However, data equity, and in a broader context, cultural responsiveness, is a challenging topic to infuse throughout a biostatistics curriculum. This is an area identified for needed improvement in the biostatistics academic program review. Moreover, Biostatistics faculty, and likely, all SPH faculty, require additional training on data equity and how to incorporate it into the curriculum.

Therefore, to address these gaps, this project will aim to:

  1. Identify and organize data equity training materials for Biostatistics (possibly all SPH) faculty);
  2. Develop a one-credit inter-professional experience course (UNI) on data equity for Biostatistics
    and other SPH students;
  3. Review and strengthen the overall Biostatistics curriculum on data equity.

These aims, in particular, aims 1 and 2, will not only impact Biostatistics students and faculty, but are expected to have a wider impact on other SPH students and faculty. This will be a collaboration between Biostatistics, Epidemiology and PSU faculty within our SPH.

The People’s Social EPI Project: PSEP PDX – Fellowship


Racial health inequities research—much of which is done within social epidemiology—is overwhelmingly positivist and reductionist. Moreover, most work has remained unapologetically apolitical and blind to power knowledge relationships. Pervading procedural and methodological norms—rooted in White supremacist logics and methods, and colonial “White possessive” proclivities—function to conjure and recirculate power-blind and pathologizing hegemonic narratives of health inequities that center whiteness, masking the agency/voice of those actually experiencing the burden of racial health inequities. This context necessitates concerted efforts to remix, reimagine, and decolonize racial health equity research and discourse. Drawing from critical race, decolonizing, and Black feminist theory literatures, this effort is a portfolio of three projects developed to “center the margins” and co-create counternarratives to traditional health equity research processes that enact epistemic oppression and erasure. The projects represent a mix of YPAR, visual art, music, and poetry—all as embodied expression of racial health equity knowledge.

Project #1: The yHEART Decolonizing Data Hub
Youth Health Equity Action and Research Training (yHEART) is an ongoing program in collaboration with Self Enhancement Inc (SEI). For this project, we will train and work with a cohort of 10 youth researchers to lay the groundwork for a decolonizing data hub—with support from Coalition of Communities of Color, Dr. Aileen Duldulao of MCHD, and artist/art professor Sharita Towne. Youth researchers will attend a series of 24 Training and Research Sessions over the two-year period.

PROJECT #2: The Public Health MixTape Project
This project will build upon my ongoing work to explore more inclusive pedagogies for learning about/analyzing population health inequities within public health classrooms. We will review and analyze ~15 terms of students’ “Public Health MixTape” assignments—each consisting of analyses of 10 health-equity related songs. We will identify the most common songs and prominent themes, using them as the basis for the creation of The Public Health MixTape podcast. Podcast episodes will feature SPH faculty, students, and community leaders/members in discussion of the music and health equity.

PROJECT #3: The Public Health Poetry Project
In collaboration with SEI, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, and Word is Bond, this project will build upon my pathbreaking and award-winning work at the intersections of poetry and public health. We will hold a series of youth poetry competitions related, broadly, to health equity and community health. There will be three competitions each year: Black History Month (February), National Minority Health Month/National Poetry Month (April), and Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May). We will develop poetry chapbooks for each competition in collaboration with local artists/presses. We will also host a series of youth poetry workshops.