UF College of Dentistry receives INSIGHT Into Diversity 2016 HEED Award

Stephen Obeng, D.M.D., M.S., is hooded during the 41st UF College of Dentistry Commencement at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 20, 2016.
Stephen Obeng, D.M.D., M.S., is hooded during the 41st UF College of Dentistry Commencement at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 20, 2016.

The University of Florida College of Dentistry received the 2016 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“We are very honored and proud to have been recognized for our efforts toward increasing the diversity of our dental students, faculty and staff, and ultimately the diversity of the dental profession and academic dentistry, something that has been a priority goal for the college for many years. This award can be attributed to a long list of dedicated faculty and staff, as well as ongoing support from current and former students from diverse backgrounds,” said A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean.

The College of Dentistry is the only 2016 health professions awardee from the University of Florida and one of only three dental schools in the United States to receive this award this year — the inaugural year for the health professions HEED award category. In 2015, the college received the HEED award as well, which makes this the second year in a row for this distinction.

“Success in the area of diversity isn’t related to just numbers and percentages. It is about an entire culture of inclusion and acceptance throughout the dental school experience. It relates to faculty and staff, as well as students and residents, and is a natural expression of having a humanistic approach to recruitment, education, research and day-to-day interactions,” Garcia said.

“The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion. We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The college’s Office of Admissions initiated and coordinated the award application, working with other faculty and staff in the college. The HEED award recognizes the extensive focus on diversity in the college that reaches into all aspects of the school including the gender mix and race/ethnicity mix of faculty, staff, students, college leadership and the members of the admissions review committee. Additional aspects taken into account include student recruitment, the D.M.D. curriculum and the overall retention of students during their course of study, especially those for students who are among historically underrepresented groups in the profession.

As a recipient of the Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — the UF College of Dentistry will be featured, in the December 2016 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

For more information about the 2016 Health Professions HEED Award, visit www.insightintodiversity.com.

About INSIGHT Into Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education today and is known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses.