The 2020 Health Professions HEED Awards: Campus Climate

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Graphic of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions HEED Award logo

The annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recognizes U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and other health schools and centers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion on their campuses. In our December 2020 issue, we recognize the year’s winners by highlighting some of the most important factors assessed by the Health Professions HEED Award.

Campus Climate

Diversity Representative

During the 2019-20 academic year, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine created a Diversity Representative position in its class council to serve as a resource for classmates by directing concerns to the Office of Access, Equity, & Inclusion, its student liaison, and committee members, as well as working with student organizations and initiatives that enhance inclusion on campus. The representative assists in developing and implementing programs, services, activities, and initiatives that create a welcoming environment and promote awareness of issues that affect diverse individuals based upon race, ethnicity, culture, heritage and religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Workgroup

University of Florida College of Dentistry IDEA WorkgroupThe University of Florida College of Dentistry’s IDEA Workgroup was created to ensure the continued cultivation of a model academic and environmental culture in which differences are invited, recognized, and valued. The workgroup fosters understanding, collaboration, professionalism, and leadership through discussion of diversity, inclusivity, equity, gender identification, and disabilities. It encourages dialogue from diverse perspectives; ensures equitable access to resources necessary to succeed; promotes positive and productive relationships among students, faculty, and staff; and creates an educational and work environment where every person feels a sense of belonging.

InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force

In response to recent events of systemic racism and violent policing in the Black community, Lee Learman, dean of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), hosted a virtual forum with more than 150 student, resident, faculty, and staff participants. Shortly after, Learman assembled the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force to address a wide range of diversity issues, including those pertaining to admissions, curriculum, recruitment, and the learning environment. More than 100 members of the VTCSOM community serve on the task force and their recommendations will be woven into the school’s strategic plan.

Council on Diversity and Diversity Advocates

Established in 2003, the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy’s Council on Diversity invites the college community, as well as retail and industry representatives, to participate in a variety of initiatives such as increasing the pipeline of diverse applicants; bolstering engagement among faculty, staff, and students; and exploring potential scholarship and other funding opportunities. To complement the Council on Diversity, the college created an ad-hoc committee called Diversity Advocates to develop a culture of belonging, increase learning opportunities for faculty and staff, and expand diversity and inclusion activities and topics within the college’s curriculum.

Call to Action

Following this past summer’s racial and social unrest, the University of Cincinnati College of Allied Health Sciences Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council has focused on the college’s “Call to Action” initiative. Areas of importance include embedding more equity and inclusion topics into the curriculum; increasing faculty and staff training and development; strengthening student-centered engagement; and improving DEI communications. In addition, the council recommended and established an inventory that lists all of the diversity-related programs, research, publications, and efforts taking place throughout the college. This inventory will be published and shared with faculty, staff, and students and updated annually.●

This article appeared in our December 2020 issue.