Kent Key Honored at Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards Ceremony

February 19, 2024

Dr. Kent Key holds award from Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards CeremonyKent Key, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health, was honored at the Michigan State University 2023 Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards Ceremony held earlier this month at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Each year, the university recognizes individuals for the notable way they have aided in furthering diversity, equity and inclusion in teaching, research, programming, service, community outreach and organizational change. As a health disparities researcher, Key uses community-engaged approaches to create community-driven solutions that advance health equity.

Within his work, Key focuses on DEI, specifically the social determinants of health and their impact on mental health youth development. He addresses health disparities and gaps in research, which has aided in eradicating systemic inequities.

"It's all about making sure the communities that we're trying to impact are a part of the process. That they're represented not just when it's time to recruit, but when it's actually time to design the study," said Key. "That representation matters because communities know what will and will not work."

Additionally, Key serves as executive deputy director of the Community Based Organization Partners, or CBOP, an umbrella organization comprised of community and faith-based organizations. Key is also the founder of the Community Ethics Review Board, which is a component of CBOP. In 2020, he authored a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis and led initiatives locally, regionally and nationally. Before his academic career, Key worked in the nonprofit sector on local and national levels. His passion for this work continues today, as he remains the executive director and founder of the Community Engagement Studio of Flint and serves as commissioner and chair of the Genesee County DEI Commission.

Key works toward building a future of growth in the public health world by focusing on training youth and embedding DEI principles into key course curricula. This led him to create the Flint Public Health Youth Academy, where he provides opportunities to explore careers in public health, medicine and research through various community events and activities that reduce disparities and increase the representation of professionals of color.