The University of Florida College of Dentistry received the 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing 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 — UFCD will be featured in the December 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
The INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award, open to all colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs, and outreach; student recruitment, retention, and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.
This year marks the fourth-consecutive year the college has been recognized as a HEED Award recipient. In 2015 UFCD was a recipient of the HEED Award, and from 2016-18, the Health Professions HEED Award since its inception. The college is one of 35 Health Professions HEED Award winners this year.
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected the UF College of Dentistry for its commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives and efforts at the college, spearheaded by Assistant Dean for Advocacy & Inclusion, Patty Probert, Ph.D., the Student Advocacy & Inclusion staff, and made a priority throughout the college as part of UFCD’s mission and values.
Making dental school more affordable are the Health Resources & Services Administration, or HRSA, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students. The UFCD Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, under the leadership of assistant dean Pamela Sandow, D.M.D., was awarded a second consecutive four-year grant in July 2016. These scholarships enable UFCD to recruit and retain the most talented students, thereby improving access to a health-professions education and fostering a diversified health workforce. They also reduce student debt so that scholarship recipients may be more likely to provide care in underserved areas after they graduate.
“Preparing the HEED Award application on behalf of the college has been a rewarding opportunity to objectively view where we stand in fostering an inclusive community for all of our members,” said Abel Gilbert, UFCD Office of Admissions outreach and recruitment specialist. Over the last four years, the award application process has been used to assess the college’s progress and establish goals to celebrate the diversity in thought and life experiences that brings the college together.”
UF College of Dentistry Strategic Plan: Ensuring the best and brightest future Gator dentists
The college recently established the Black Student Advocacy Group, which first convened in April 2018 to open dialogue and learn more about personal views, experiences, concerns and suggestions about how the college can do a better job of supporting a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. The Black Student Advocacy Group is among many college activities intended to cultivate a humanistic environment, enhance a culture of respect and inclusion, and foster a greater sense of community among faculty, staff, students and residents.
“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,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus.”
UF Health – and its six academic health colleges – collaborate on the Summer Health Professions Education Program, or SHPEP, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program specifically targets students from disadvantaged and underrepresented minority backgrounds. SHPEP allows 80 pre-health students from across the country to attend a six-week, on-campus immersive experience to learn more about careers in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and health professions, physician assistant studies and veterinary medicine.
The College of Dentistry has implemented UF Health’s ‘Hospitality Training’ in the college to take the next step in providing every constituent who enters the college’s doors the best possible experience: a welcoming, hospitable environment in which we consistently deliver warmth and caring energy – starting with how we treat each other at work, and extending to everyone with whom we come into contact each day.
About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest 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. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.