Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Human Physiology

The faculty in our department are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our department aims to increase the diversity and representation of both our faculty and our student body. 

We aim to incorporate diverse topics and perspectives into our courses and curriculum, and to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment to students of all backgrounds and identities. We commit to cultural and identity respect and awareness. Our work in these areas is ongoing and we will continue the process of learning and improvement in our efforts.


A few statistics about our current student population

  • Total student enrollment is 230 undergraduate HPHY majors
  • 70% Female, 30% Male students
  • Race and Ethnicity: 34% of our students identify as other than white

Faculty Efforts at Increasing DEI

  • Dr. Donovan organized and hosted a campus wide screening of the documentary “Picture a Scientist,” a film that discusses harassment, bias and gender inequity in the sciences.  This was followed by a panel discussion that included scientists from multiple departments on campus who fielded questions about their respective experiences with these issues. The event was featured in the university news publication, The Gonzaga Bulletin. 
  • The Human Physiology department is collectively highlighting the various Heritage Months throughout the 2021-22 academic year. Heritage Months are periods within the year that are designated to celebrate and acknowledge various ethnic and marginalized groups. These are times not only to celebrate, but also to educate others on various groups' histories and contributions. For each heritage month, HPHY is celebrating with a display highlighting scientists and scientific achievements from each designated group. Click on the links below to see examples from Hispanic and Latinx Heritage month and Disability Heritage month.

  Celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15)

  Honoring Scientists with Disabilities (October)

  Native American Heritage Month (November)

  Women's History Month (March)

  • Dr. Donovan hosts a weekly resource hour for female identifying students in our major.  The purpose of the HPHY Women's Resource Hour is to ensure that all our female students have the representation, mentorship and resources they need for anything specific to being a woman in STEM/Physiology. Women in STEM and Medicine may face unique challenges and may have questions specific to being in STEM fields that have historically been male dominated. Women in STEM and medicine need to see other women in careers and senior positions, and have women who can serve as examples, mentors and resources for the female in STEM experience. The resource hour this semester has included various discussion topics as well as three guests who are women in different careers that are of interest to women in our major

Publications on Incorporating DEI in the Classroom

Donovan EL, Barcus MJ. An Example of Functional Integration and Application of Diversity, Inequities and Social Determinants of Health in an Applied Physiology Course. Adv Physiol Educ. 2021 Sep 23. doi: 10.1152/advan.00085.2021. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34554844.

  • This manuscript describes a novel approach for integrating diversity and diverse perspectives into Dr. Donovan’s Physiology of Aging course. The approach included an examination of the functional intersection between social determinants of health and molecular physiology of aging, and how that may affect aging and etiology of age associated diseases. In addition, through a collaboration with our university Student Affairs Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity department, the students were provided with actionable strategies they can implement to address inequities in health care and promote healthy aging.

Other Campus Initiatives at Gonzaga

  • Productive Discomfort - Faculty affinity group focusing on inclusive teaching; to expand and deepen culturally responsive instruction; providing best practices in facilitating difficult classroom discussions.
  • IMPACT - Intercultural and Multicultural Professionals Advancing Change Together is an affinity group of faculty and staff of color and their allies at Gonzaga University. The purpose of IMPACT is to support members and initiatives that create dialogue, raise awareness, and educate the campus and community on the richness of human differences that exist on campus, regionally and globally.
  • The Gonzaga University Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - The advisory body to the GU President, Provost, and Chief Diversity Officer, and aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan, pursues its mission by collaborating with Gonzaga employees and students working to advance diversity and inclusion, equity, and cultural fluency; GUCDEI includes staff, faculty and students.
  • Colleagues of Color - A cultural affinity group. Office of DEI and various partners on campus focusing on BIPOC faculty and staff across campus.