Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Human Biology

The purpose of the Human Biology Program (HMB) statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is to communicate the values that we as a community believe are central to EDI as a contemporary, evolving system, and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to improve the experience of these values for those we represent (students, staff, faculty) and those outside our department with whom we interact. In HMB, we believe that pursuit of EDI is a dynamic, ever-evolving process that includes the input of students, staff, and faculty working in partnership to create tangible responses to a changing world within and beyond our program.

This is ‘the statement’. It is authentically derived from several consultations among faculty, staff, students, together and separately. Despite the rigor and genuine thought and insight that went into creating this statement, WITHOUT ACTION, these words are at risk of being merely ‘just words’. We can and MUST do better, beginning with ourselves. We can ask ourselves, HOW CAN I… enact, represent, stand for and uphold EDI? 

Our Mission

Here is some standard and common EDI language that is true for EDI in HMB as much as it is everywhere else:

In our mission to strive to be: 

  • An equitable program- everyone receives the support they need while ongoing intentional actions are undertaken to find and address systemic and structural inequities so that changes toward equity for specific needs, ultimately have universal benefits.
  • diverse program- perspectives from a diverse community of lived experiences inform policy, pedagogy, and research practices.
  • An inclusive program- everyone is of equal value and underrepresented voices are sought after, while care is taken to minimize emotional labour of any one group.
  • Accountable. We will assess changes and evaluate practices regularly to measure their effectiveness and value using data-driven and evidence-based approaches.

What makes us different? We are advocates and allies.

“What I hear, I forget, what I see, I remember, what I do, I understand”  Xunzi (340 - 245 BC).

Moving Forward

Hearing and seeing is not as good as experience.  We understand that we need action. Global warming, anti-BIPOC, anti-LGBTQ2+, anti-feminist, anti-disabled, anti-non-conforming…etc. are deeply entrenched in the systems we belong to. Presumably, this very fact is why EDI committees exist — to call the inequities by name and dismantle them. In HMB, we want to innovate, remove barriers, dismantle unsubstantiated systems, and have the difficult conversations to effect change. We want to build a future that eradicates the familiar standards and instead creates and deepens growth and mobility for the under-represented and under-served. 

This page is a living space in which we will hope to demonstrate that the Faculty, Staff, and Students of HMB are working together to facilitate these changes.

This committee seeks to represent all HMB students and all HMB partners.

Faculty Representatives

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Leanne De Souza-Kenney (Co-Chair)

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Colleen Dockstader (Co-Chair)

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Andreas Courtois

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Melanie Jeffrey

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Bill Ju

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Naomi Levy-Strumpf

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Maria Papaconstantinou

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Franco Taverna

Staff Representatives

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Sarah Cook

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Dana Patterson



Student Representative

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Sahar Mahmoudian




Have a question or interested in learning more?

Contact one of our co-chairs:

Leanne De Souza-Kenney (Co-Chair) leanne.desouza@utoronto.ca
Colleen Dockstader (Co-Chair) colleen.dockstader@utoronto.ca

You belong here — so come join us when you’re ready, we will be waiting...