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FIRST Center receives grant funding to study DEI, develop ‘DEI FIRE’ toolkit

The Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends will work with the Metro Chiefs on the project to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts


By FireRescue1 Staff

PHILADELPHIA — The Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) and the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association have partnered to advance issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in the fire service.

The partnership, which is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Assistance to Fire Grants (AFG) Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Program, will address issues raised in the 2021 National Fire Service Research Agenda on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

A press release from the FIRST Center shares that the work will include development of a “DEI FIRE” toolkit with education, assessment, and training components:

Through the creation of a DEI dictionary, a common language will emerge. The toolkit will include assessments of DEI receptivity in fire departments and fire service organizations using validated tools, and in response to that data, best practices, trainings, and model policies will be created. The toolkit will be made available through an online clearinghouse to centralize information and will be free to all fire departments so that recruitment, retention, and advancement of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry will be realized.”

The team will be advised by the FIRST Center Advisory Board including:

The research team will be led by Jennifer Taylor, PhD, MPH, CPPS, director of the FIRST Center, and collaborate with Randall Sell, ScD, a professor and eminent historical researcher on LGBTQ+ health; Patience Ajoff-Foster, PhD, CDE, Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Culture and Belonging in the Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC); and Johanna Inman, EdD, MFA, the Inaugural Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and national presenter on teaching in higher education, all from Drexel.