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For Your Information | January 7, 2021

Volume 2, Issue 6

Quick Summary

  • Download the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Year-End Report
  • “Black California surgeon at UC Davis Health ‘walks the walk’ on virus vaccine”
  • UC Davis Hispanic Serving Institution Implementation Taskforce Begins Work

Download a printable version of this week's newsletter

Dear Friends, 

Happy New Year! After yesterday’s travesty at the Capitol, I, among several others who are penning letters or publishing updates for today, have completely changed what we were going to say. We’ve deleted or edited the general “Happy New Year” cheer notes and traded them for blank screens or new empty pages, holding emotions at bay. Even now, I am writing and deleting, and so this issue is coming to you late on Thursday afternoon for that reason. I’ve lived many years of my life in Washington, DC and the surrounding area, and I know from experience how it feels to go through all of the security measures to get into a federal building. Yesterday, I watched the attack, and  I tweeted the following“Discussions about white supremacy and unequal treatment must continue. There are stark differences between how people were treated during protests in June and how today's rioters are encouraged. This insurrection has disrupted democracy and has caused death. It is inexcusable.”  Chancellor May posted a full statement yesterday afternoon, sharing, “We all denounce the abhorrent behavior of the insurrectionists who breached our nation’s Capitol.” Whether you are shocked, or “not surprised,” the situation is still jarring. 

Many have asked, “How can I work?” “How do I study?” or noting that it is hard to concentrate. Indeed, it is, and there are several things that we can do. First, continue to take care of ourselves and others. Take a look at the “Tips for Managing Socio-Political Stress,” and consider campus resources for attending to mental health (for studentsfor faculty and staff), and/or your own community resource networks. We mourn, reflect, refresh, and then, we continue to work. On Tuesday, I shared with our team that we don’t just sound an alarm when something is broken, we put in the work to build something better. As I continue to ponder what has happened, I have thoughts about our UC Davis community … good thoughts, because I believe that while we are evolving, we are not blind to bias and racism, and we clearly see issues for what they are. We are far from perfect, but as the country is both reeling from and reckoning with facing the truth about structures that allow a celebration of white supremacy and its ideologies (such as carrying a confederate flag though the Capitol), we are continuing to recognize and call out injustices. 

I remain optimistic about our progress, because we have been facing racism head on. Throughout the Summer and Fall of 2020, our campus read the Anti-racist Syllabus, and implemented some of the actions to address anti-racism. We have been taking time to contemplate “reckoning,” unpacking oppression, participating in weeks of anti-racism challenge activities, and volunteering extra time to serve on committees and task forces such as UC Davis Health’s Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity (IDARE) Taskforces Initiative, which is one among many. We are learning more about addressing our histories, while building our futures as a adopt the conceptual framework of the 5 pedagogical stances from the Transformative Justice in Education Center. In other words, here at UC Davis, we are putting in the work. As we work, we must be in a constant state of checking to be sure that we are NOT creating, participating in, nor perpetuating systems of oppression and structures of inequity. Several departments are doing that … building as they ask questions, assessing their situations, learning about injustices, and implementing new policies for improvement. We are a work in progress, but we can be proud of our growth. (For more, see the DEI Impact Report: Taking Action, released Dec. 2020. To take actions, incorporate the D&I Strategic Vision into new plans.)

The next newsletter will be published on January 21, 2021, which gives us an opportunity in this issue to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you are new to the campus, take a look at the website for our law school, named under Dr. King. King Hall will “…keep alive the name -- and, most importantly, the vision -- of its namesake, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose dream of legal, social, and economic justice for all is the animating vision for the School of Law at UC Davis."

As we recognize Dr. King, we also mourn the passing of one of our own, Tribal Elder Marshall McKay of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. UC Davis’ statement noted that Chairman McKay had a “commitment to Native American cultural renewal included a focus on education and sustainable land-use practices.” The Yocha Dehe Tribal Council spoke as one and stated: “We know our pain is shared by so many families facing the devastating effects of this pandemic. We know also the pain of Marshall’s loss is shared by the many who loved him and learned from him. We will miss his strength and wisdom. He was a resolute protector of Native American heritage here, within our own homeland, but also throughout California and Indian Country.”

In spite of the struggles, we still have joy. This week, we welcome to the DEI family Germaine Kennix, who will serve as the new EA3-Executive Assistant for my office, supporting me and our executive initiatives. Germaine came to our office from our UC Davis Health campus in Sacramento with a wealth of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, and well wishes from her colleagues. Welcome Germaine! We also welcome Dr. Jorge García from the UC Davis Health Office of Student and Resident Diversity to his new role as Associate Dean for Diverse and Inclusive Learning Communities! Congratulations Dr. García! In closing, we are making strides! Your good work counts! I continue to bid you good tidings, and still offer an expression of “Happy New Year.” As always, thank you for your commitment, and for your support!

Very kind regards,


Download the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Year-End Report
“Picture a Scientist” Film Viewing and Panel Discussion

Please join the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in partnership with the Women in Medicine and Health Sciences(WIMHS) and Isabel P. Montañez and Dawn Sumner, Professors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for an opportunity to view the 2020 Tribeca film selection “Picture a Scientist” about the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. We will publish a link to view the film online for 72 hours starting on Saturday, January 23 and then host a round table featuring UC Davis faculty to discuss the film on Monday, January 25 from 4:30 - 5:30pm. Register here.

Winter-Spring 2021 Anti-Racism Syllabus

Earlier this fall, we published a webpage of events that addresses racism and elevates awareness of racism and bias that took place over the summer, along with numerous others that have occurred during the fall quarter. We are now putting together our anti-racism syllabus for the winter and spring quarters. Please let us know if you are a part of or hosting an event we can include. Please e-mail the details to Tom O’Donnell.


Office of Campus Community Relations | AEVC Rahim Reed

Campus Community Book Project

The UC Davis Campus Community Book Project (CCBP) recently wrapped up its fall quarter program of events and will return in mid-January 2021 for our winter quarter program. Did you miss an event this fall? Below is a list of event recordings and materials, which also can be found on the CCBP Resources page:

We also are pleased to release our Mental Health Bibliography, which includes non-fiction, memoir, and fiction titles on this year’s theme. Enormous thanks to Matt Conner, UC Davis Librarian, for curating this bibliography. 

In its nineteenth year, the Campus Community Book Project focuses on the theme of mental health and features graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney. Visit the CCBP Events page and subscribe to our online calendar for up-to-date event information and registration links. We also invite you to follow the book project on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | AVC Hendry Ton

“Black California surgeon at UC Davis Health ‘walks the walk’ on virus vaccine”

Dr. David Tom Cooke, head of general thoracic surgery at UC Davis Health, is featured in an Associated Press article about his determination to demonstrate the safety of the COVID vaccine and serve as a model for the African American community. He says his choice to participate in a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine is like his grandmother’s decision to leave the Jim Crow South to work in California’s naval shipyards during World War II. She was determined to contribute even though the country didn’t recognize her as worthy of full rights. Today, it’s Cooke’s sense of duty and experience as a Black man that led him to test out Pfizer’s vaccine in August and make it his mission to allay concerns about its safety among Black friends, family and community members. He’s also driven by an understanding of skepticism toward the medical profession among many Black Americans, rooted in a history of poor health outcomes and abusive research. Please read the full article here.

Jorge A. García Becomes School of Medicine Associate Dean for Diverse and Inclusive Learning Communities

It is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Jorge A. García has accepted the position of the School of Medicine’s Associate Dean for Diverse and Inclusive Learning Communities position. Dr. García is a distinguished faculty member, clinician, mentor, and a respected leader at UC Davis School of Medicine, most recently as Director in the Office of Student and Resident Diversity. He has extensive expertise creating welcoming and inclusive learning environments that inspire and nurture students and trainees from all backgrounds to meet the health needs of the diverse communities we serve. He shares and embodies our deep commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of education, science and health care. Please read the full article here.

Office of Academic Diversity | Interim AVC Lorena Oropeza

UC Davis Hispanic Serving Institution Implementation Taskforce Begins Work

Following the 2019 HSI Taskforce Report, “Investing in Rising Scholars and Serving the State of California: What it Means for UC Davis to be a Hispanic Serving Institution,” Chancellor Gary S. May issued a subsequent charge letter creating the HSI Implementation Taskforce, co-chaired by Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Lorena Oropeza and Chief of Staff Mark A. López. As Chancellor May notes, that report emerged from many conversations with students, faculty, staff, community leaders, and public officials. It adopted an asset-oriented view of “Rising Scholars” and presented a vision of UC Davis as “a culturally responsive learning community that fulfills the mission of a Research 1 and land grant university, closing the equity gap in higher education; enabling all of its community members, including Rising Scholars, to thrive and reach their full potential; and elevating our excellence in public service and scholarship.” Members of the taskforce constituted itself into four implementation subcommittees: Recruitment, Retention and Persistence, Grant Writing, and Communications.

Opportunities and News from CAMPSSAH

The Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Science, Arts, and Humanities(CAMPSSAH) is excited to preview a forthcoming call for four separate initiatives in support of “P.L.A.C.E. with CAMPSSAH,” a 2020-22 UCOP Advancing Faculty Diversity (AFD) grant: Scholar of the Quarter, Manuscript Workshop, Summer Writing Retreat, and Post-tenure Faculty Start-up Award. You can find more information about each on the PLACE webpage now and we will be posting and e-mailing nomination/application information out on January 11.

CAMPSSAH Faculty Affiliate Archana Venkatesan and her colleague in the department of Religious Studies, Seth Sanders, recently served as faith advisors on Disney's new Pixar film Soul.

Four Associate Professors have been selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the P.L.A.C.E. with CAMPSSAH Writing Community: Corrie Decker (History, Puberty Matters: Age, Sex, and Race in Twentieth-Century East Africa), Margaret Laurena Kemp (Theater and Dance, Voicing the Sensuous/A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Awakening all the Sounds of Human Communication), Erica Kohl-Arenas(American Studies, Outlaws, Runaways and Dreamers: The Cultural Politics of Radical California), and Cecilia Tsu (History, Starting Over: Refugee Resettlement in the Reagan Era). We know anecdotally and through research that women faculty and faculty of color are more likely to remain in the Associate rank for a longer period of time due to multiple factors (childcare/family care responsibilities, service work overload, coupled with ongoing gender and racial bias). Our writing community initiative serves as a space for community building and peer mentorship as well as individualized technical support in crafting a book project. These scholars will work together for the winter and spring quarters to move their projects toward completion.


January 13, Wednesday

Trauma and Coping | 12:00PM
For African Americans, witnessing state-sanctioned violence against Black bodies is an all too familiar and frequent occurrence. As individuals and as a community, it is imperative for African Americans to understand the impact of the historical racial trauma, its intersection with contemporary racial trauma, and how these things impact our individual and collective health. Please join us for a discussion on how to understand these traumas and their impact and how we can best cope with them. This Session is targeted to Black identifying Faculty, Staff, and Students. Future Sessions will be open to all Faculty, Staff, and StudentsZoom Registration

January 18, Monday

“A People’s Holiday,” Hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture | 4:00PM (EST)
A concert and poetry reading honoring Dr. Kings’ commitment to racial equality, justice and service featuring six-time Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride in a digital performance inspired by his social justice-focused album entitled, “The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons.” The 45-minute concert of jazz and poetry will feature performances of students from The Julliard School and a poetry reading by the legendary Sonia Sanchez. Learn more here.

January 20, Wednesday

Racial Healing Circles | 6:00PM
A technique for proactively building authentic dialogue and relationships to create collective impact. Join the UC Davis Health Office for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for our virtual racial healing circle, facilitated by Mercedes Piedra, Director, Office for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Rangineh Azimzadeh Tosang, Founder of Solh Resolutions International. We are creating a safe space for supportive dialogue to build a community of belonging for a collective impact on racial justice. Register here.

Campus Community Book Project: Hendry Ton, "Bias and Racism in Mental Health and Mental Health Treatment" | 1:30PM
A talk by Hendry Ton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion & Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Register here.

My Life as a Postbacc | 4:00PM
The UC Postbaccalaureate Consortium is a partnership of postbaccalaureate premedical programs at the Schools of Medicine at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, and UC San Francisco. The mission of the Consortium is to increase the number of physicians who practice in shortage areas of California by assisting capable and dedicated students from disadvantaged backgrounds in gaining admission to medical school. What you’ll be learning: Personal stories and advice from current and previous Postbacc students; Discussing navigating a postbacc program and medical school prep during COVID-19; Live Q&A Session. Register here.

January 22, Friday

COVID-19 Vaccine Community Forum | 12:00PM
Join the African American Faculty and Staff Association for an information session with Dr. David Cooke, Associate Professor and Head of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery, discussing the COVID-19 vaccine and the African American Community. Dr. Cooke was part of the clinical trial for the vaccine and is a leader in the vaccine efforts at UC Davis Health. Log on to Zoom here

January 23 - 25

“Picture a Scientist” Film Viewing and Panel Discussion
Please join the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in partnership with the Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) and Isabel P. Montañez and Dawn Sumner, Professors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for an opportunity to view the 2020 Tribeca film selection “Picture a Scientist” about the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. We will publish a link to view the film online for 72 hours starting on Saturday, January 23 and then host a round table featuring UC Davis faculty to discuss the film on Monday, January 25 from 4:30 - 6:00pm. Registration information will be available soon.

January 28, Thursday

Enhancing Student Wellness Community of Practice Concluding Event | 3:00PM
The Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education Community of Practice includes over 50 campus leaders – staff, students and faculty – representing a comprehensive array of student-support programs. They have worked together for over a year to determine and prioritize strategic investments or practices that can improve student outcomes and eliminate gaps in the four-year graduation rates that currently exist by race/ethnicity, parent education and family income. The seven teams that comprise the Community of Practice will present their findings and recommendations to the Chancellor, Provost and a broad cross section of university leadership. Zoom registration.

February 12, Friday

Foundations of an Anti-racist Pedagogy | 12:10PM
Racial inequities persist on campuses, in curricula, and in classrooms. In this faculty workshop, participants will explore how to take action towards building an anti-racist curriculum and anti-racist pedagogical and assessment practices -- proactively and responsively -- . We will also discuss actionable steps towards building an anti-racist presence, along cognitive, social, and teaching dimensions. Register here.


Monday, January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and while we are prevented from gathering to march or celebrate in honor of his achievements and sacrifice, we can individually reflect on his life and ideas. Below are some helpful resources to learn more about King and his mission.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a museum and human rights organization in Atlanta that inspires people to tap their own power to change the world around them. The Center’s iconic exhibitions feature the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the history of the US civil rights movement; and stories from the struggle for human rights around the world today. They offer a virtual tour of their exhibit “Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement.”

The Smithsonian Institution houses an enormous collection of photographs, videos, and documents of Dr. King.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture, has resources for studentsfamilies, and talking about race.

The NMAAHC is hosting a community program entitled “A People’s Holiday” concert and poetry reading honoring Dr. Kings’ commitment to racial equality, justice and service on Monday, January 18, at 4:00P (EST). Features six-time Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride in a digital performance inspired by his social justice-focused album entitled, “The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons.” The 45-minute concert of jazz and poetry will feature performances of students from The Julliard School and a poetry reading by the legendary Sonia Sanchez. Learn more here.


Counseling Services Mental Health Resources Webinar [requires Kerberos log-in] One of the things we hear frequently from instructors about teaching in Spring 2020 is the extent to which they encountered students in their courses experiencing significant stress or crisis, yet they felt unequipped to help or direct students to resources. To help, Student Health and Counseling Services provided a Mental Health Resources Webinar. If supporting students in crisis is a concern for you, please watch this previously-recorded webinar. Webinar topics include an overview of mental health services on campus, how to make referrals, signs of distress and how to respond, and how faculty can support students in the classroom (remote or on-campus). Student Affairs has also provided this folder of faculty resources.

Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center We are a student community space where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables during Fruit & Veggie Up!, get CalFresh enrollment assistance and find resources to help you find stable housing and financial assistance. 

Keep Teaching Instructional Resilience at UC Davis supports UC Davis faculty during a time of COVID-19-related illness, quarantine, or campus closure. This site provides concise, practical resources and strategies for moving part or all of a course online to help you keep teaching.  

Food Resources for UC Davis Students and Community Members Food is one of the most basic and important human needs, yet an increasing number of college students are going hungry as food insecurity gets worse. Food insecurity can not only lead to poor health, but it can also have detrimental effects on a student's academic, professional, and social life. Food insecurity can be brought on by various factors, including limited food access and financial difficulties. Here in Davis, there is a variety of fresh and health foods in grocery stores, restaurants, and farmer’s markets.

Campus Ready With the anticipation that our on-campus community will increase gradually over the next several months, we are introducing a robust COVID-19 plan to ensure that UC Davis is “campus ready” for you. What does campus ready mean? It means phases of return to campus. New policies, guidelines and protocols to minimize exposure. And a campus wide approach that follows prevention best practices including wearing face coverings, physical distancing, frequent sanitization and symptom monitoring.

UC Davis Office for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion COVID resources page In English and Spanish to reach our communities and we are actively updating with new resources.

Content Submission Form

Do you have a DEI-oriented event, announcement, or article that you would like us to help promote through our DEI communication channels? Did your unit/department or a member of your unit/department receive recognition that demonstrates your commitment to DEI? If so, please send us your information through this online form.

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Thank you for your dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion!