Health professions schools face unique challenges when it comes to recruiting, educating, and treating diverse populations. With so many constituents to serve and support, from faculty and staff to students and patients, and an array of crucial factors to address, from cultural competence to health disparities, these institutions are tasked with providing comprehensive, equitable care and education to ensure the health of our nation.
At INSIGHT Into Diversity, we’ve witnessed how such extraordinary circumstances have pushed some health professions schools to rise to the challenges set before them and set excellent examples for others. To recognize these institutions and acknowledge the ways in which they embrace diversity and inclusion, we created the INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award — an offshoot of the HEED Award. (To see a list of 2016 HEED Award recipients, visit insightintodiversity.com.)
The Health Professions HEED Award honors U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary, and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. It measures an institution’s level of achievement in regard to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion across all programs and services for people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual and gender identities, nationalities, socioeconomic and disability statuses, and beyond.
“We created this new award because we realized that it is difficult to assess what health professions schools are doing when they are using the same HEED Award application that community colleges and law schools use,” says Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“We created a board of diversity administrators from health professions organizations who represent several different categories of schools and consulted with them on the questions we should ask their members related to diversity and inclusion on their campuses,” she adds. “As they face different challenges among students and employees, these organizations gave us great insight into how to collect the necessary data in order to make an informed decision as to which schools should be recognized as Health Professions HEED Award recipients.”
In its first year, we are pleased to announce that 31 schools have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion and are being awarded the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2016 Health Professions HEED Award for their efforts.
We hope the award inspires these schools to continue their great work and make even greater strides to ensure equity and inclusion in healthcare education and the professions, as well as motivate other institutions so that they too will be recognized for their efforts in the future.●
Alexandra Vollman is the editor of INSIGHT Into Diversity.