Social Justice, Inclusion, & Diversity

Diversity and Inclusion

Social justice, inclusion and diversity are highly valued at the Friedman School and are promoted values within our community. We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and staff. The school supports an environment that celebrates a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical ability, religion, geographic origin, socioeconomic status, and language background. We recognize the importance of understanding the unique historical context of race relations, as well as other forms of identity that intersect with race. We aim to foster a community at Friedman that leads the way in addressing this legacy and preparing a set of leaders ready to approach the effects it has had on food, the environment, and the health of communities in the U.S. and around the world.

The School is currently working to promote and improve outcomes in the areas of social justice, diversity, inclusion, and equity through initiatives such as the standing Committee on Social Justice, Inclusion, and Diversity, the School's overall Strategic Planning Goals, the student-led Friedman Justice League, and additional activities outlined in the tabs below.

This page of the Friedman website serves as a platform for communicating about these issues.  Friedman's efforts support and are supported by a University-wide effort to promote social justice, diversity, and inclusion. 

Standing Committee on Social Justice, Inclusion, and Diversity

It is the charge of this Committee to:

  • Identify areas within the Friedman School spheres of activity - education, research, service, and public impact - and its partnerships where social justice, inclusion, diversity, and equity should be promoted;
  • Propose short-term (i.e. one year) and long-term (i.e., 5-10 years) goals to the Friedman School leadership and suggest methods for achieving these goals.
  • Propose metrics to assess, and when appropriate, contribute to the assessment of the status of social justice, inclusion, diversity, and equity within the Friedman School.

The Committee’s work aligns with the goals and objectives determined by the School’s Strategic Plan, prioritizing the following: 1) ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in the School’s teaching, research projects, and partnerships; 2) expanding the field's appeal to groups that are typically underrepresented in the field of nutrition; and 3) working to reduce nutrition-related health inequities. The Committee is composed of faculty, staff, and students and may form subcommittees to address specific issues.  The plans developed by the Committee are to be enacted in partnership with the relevant departments and programs within the Friedman School.  The committee’s primary responsibilities are to:

  • Advise the School in ways to integrate social justice, inclusion, and diversity into teaching, student experiences, research, School partnerships, and advocacy;
  • Assist leadership in developing a plan for short- and long-term goals in diversity, inclusiveness and equity and approaches to meeting these goals specifically around issues of recruitment and retention, fostering a culture of inclusiveness within the school, financial support and scholarship, research, and teaching;
  • Recommend ways to expand the appeal of the Friedman School to groups that are typically underrepresented in the field of nutrition (including students, faculty and staff);
  • Recommend activities that the School can undertake to reduce nutrition-related health inequities;
  • Communicate with the Friedman community, periodically including updates at Faculty meetings, on the Committee’s efforts;
  • Prepare and submit to the Dean an annual report summarizing the Committee’s activities over the preceding year.

Initiatives at Friedman

Faculty, staff, and students participate in many activities related to social justice, diversity, inclusion, and equity ranging from service in their communities to university-wide committees to the creation of student organizations such as the Friedman Justice League.

Friedman Faculty, Students, Staff, and alumni perspectives

Read more about perspectives on social justice, inclusion, and diversity from members of our community. To read reflections, click on the links below.

Who could imagine talking about food production without addressing the diversity of who operates our farms, who works in our agricultural fields, who owns our food manufacturing companies, and who eats our food?

Read more from Dr. Wilde here

There needs to be more collaborations similar to those that the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) organization has built; for example, if the nutrition and scientific communities could increase partnership building with local communities, then we may see more robust and sustainable impact in the areas of food justice.

Read more from Emily here

My advice to students who are considering Friedman and wondering about diversity is that it is important to take the opportunity to be part of the solution. There must be pioneers. This is critical, since the conversation about food needs to consider the communities that are left out.

Read more from Oni here


Social Justice

Equitable distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges within a society.


Range of a person's individual attributes, including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, language, socioeconomic status, physical ability or attributes, religion, ethical values, geographic origin, veteran status, educational background, neurocognitive functioning, family structures, and political beliefs. Includes perspectives related to both these individual attributes and life experiences.


Inclusion means that everyone's inherent worth and dignity are recognized and that everyone’s involvement is respected. An inclusive community promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, talents, and challenges of its members.

Health Disparity

These categories reflect social advantage or disadvantage when they determine an individual’s or group’s position in a social hierarchy. They are likely to reinforce social disadvantage and vulnerability. Disparities in health and its determinants are the metric for assessing health equity, the principle underlying a commitment to reducing disparities in health and its determinants.