Creating An Equitable Community in Kinesiology

Fostering a welcoming environment for individuals with a passion for health, science, wellness, education, and equity is essential to reach the UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology’s goals of optimizing health and well-being on a global scale. It is not enough to idly stand by. We are actively working to establish an anti-racist atmosphere in the department, so that current and future students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds will feel like they have the resources and space with which to succeed. Implementing equitable practices and creating space for discussion and action are vital steps to create a positive climate for all. We look forward to working continuously with all, in the department and beyond, to build a healthy and well community within the Department of Kinesiology.

News & Events

Black History Month

Music as Medicine: Evolution of Music in the Black Community

From generation to generation music has been utilized by the Black Community as a form of activism, healing, and freedom of expression. From the use of negro spirituals to uplift the spirits of enslaved peoples, to the arrangement of contemporary hip-hop tracks to call out systemic racism and oppression, throughout generations music has been used by Black people to reflect their internal and external situations.

This year, we will celebrate the theme Music as Medicine: Evolution of Music in the Black Community by presenting a cohesive set of programming designed to highlight the various forms of Black music. We will also discuss the influence of those often ignored for their contributions to music, such as women in genres dominated by men. 

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in the Department:

Diversity, Climate, and Equity Workgroup: We are a group of students, staff, and faculty working together to create an anti-racist and inclusive learning environment for Kinesiology students at UW-Madison.


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More about this workgroup

Workgroup Lead: Dr. Andrea Mason

Contact person: Dr. Andrea Mason,

How to join: Students, faculty, and staff members interested in being part of our workgroup should contact the designated person above


Q3 2020 (July-September 2020)

  1. Development of the Diversity, Climate, and Equity Workgroup who identified 7 action items: (1) Encourage faculty/instructors to discuss their commitment to anti-racism, (2) create webpage, (3) Create and mandate training for faculty, staff, and students, (4) Discuss including health equity in the curriculum for undergraduate students, (5) Include topics surrounding anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion in the graduate seminar, (6) Create a student club for kinesiology students from underrepresented groups, (7) Create mentorship program between undergraduate and graduate students/alumni.
  2. Sent out faculty/instructor-wide email encouraging commitment to anti-racism in the classroom and discussion around the department’s statement on diversity and inclusion.
  3. Addition of diversity topics to the kinesiology graduate seminar (K900).
  4. Ongoing efforts include: creation of “Equity Initiatives” section of webpage, diversity and inclusivity training, mentorship program, departmental incident report processrapid response team to respond to events

Diverse OT Student Organization: Diverse-OT aims to advance the cultural climate within the UW-OT program and the greater UW campus by providing opportunities for discussion and education on diversity and inclusion. We strive to create pathways for marginalized students into the program, and to foster a strong community of occupational therapy students who are knowledgeable about the experiences of underrepresented peoples and equipped to address health disparities.

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More about this student org

Target Audience: students interested in health care (open to both undergraduate and graduate)

Org Leads: Julia Garcia and Ryan Ping

Contact: Julia Garcia, -or- Ryan Ping,

Meeting Frequency: General body meetings are held monthly, during which time any and all students are welcome. Executive board (e-board) meetings are held biweekly, during which time elected board members meet to discuss plans for future meetings, outreach opportunities, etc.

How to join:  Diverse OT has open doors to any and all students (both graduate and undergraduate) who are interested in attending the general body meetings. Membership is purely based on those who attend our general body meetings. However, if you would like to be more involved in the planning process, we hold annual elections every spring, through which members can apply for executive board positions (information on this process is shared through our email listserv). If students are interested in joining, they can contact Julia Garcia or Ryan Ping (Co-Presidents of Diverse OT).


Q3 2020 (July-September 2020)

  1. Diverse OT has been working to arrange ways in which we can still be active in our community and host general body meetings. We are currently planning a virtual “school visit,” during which time we will talk to students in a rural/marginalized community and teach them about Occupational Therapy with hopes that it will spark interest in profession for these students. We hosted our first general body meeting which will be a workshop on privilege and advocacy- this workshop was highlighted on the department website.

Equity, Climate, and Diversity Committee: The Equity Climate and Diversity Committee aims to maintain a welcoming and engaging environment within the Department of Kinesiology.

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More about this committee

Target Audience: Faculty and staff within the department

Committee Lead: Kreg Gruben

Contact person: Kreg Gruben,

Meeting Frequency: Multiple times per semester

How to join: The group is composed of members appointed by the Kinesiology Chair.


Q3 2020 (July-September 2020)

  1. Met to discuss what book to read for our annual book discussion. The Go Big Read 2020-2021 book is “Parkland: Birth of a Movement” by Dave Cullen. Parkland focuses on the student activism that arose out of a tragic event, showing both the struggles and the triumphs of young people creating change. Decided to follow previous year’s model to have students lead book discussion.
  2. Drafted survey to send to department faculty and staff for the purpose of initiating social interactions during Fall 2020. We are working on updating the survey in light of distance requirements and trying to find ways to host virtual social hours.
  3. Tried out SpatialChat during a department meeting to see how we may utilize this program to host social hours.

Kinesiology Book Club: The book club is open to all students, faculty, and staff in the department. We meet about 1 time per month during the academic year and will meet more frequently between semesters (winter and summer). We understand the academic year can be very busy, so we will focus on articles or shorter reading topics and save books or longer discussions for between semesters.

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More about this book club

Target Audience: The book club is open to all students, faculty, and staff in the department.

Contact person: Stephanie Trigsted,

Meeting Frequency:  We plan to meet once per month during the academic year and more frequently during the summer to discuss books, articles, or other materials. 

How to join:  Contact Stephanie


Check out the google calendar below for book club updates!

Check out the calendar to find information about our next meeting and upcoming discussions! Even if you can’t read any or all the material, please feel free to join in the conversation.


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