UFCD Receives Seventh Straight HEED Award

Chemika St. Juste commencement

For the seventh consecutive year, the UF College of Dentistry was recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts as one of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, Awardees, a national honor recognizing U.S. health colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

For six years the College of Dentistry was the only University of Florida college to earn the award, and this year UFCD is proud to welcome a fellow UF Academic Health Center college, the UF College of Pharmacy, as a recipient of the 2021 HEED award.   


In addition to its education, research, patient care and service missions, UFCD places great value on promoting and supporting a culture of dignity, respect, support and compassion fostered through a diverse and inclusive environment. The college strives to cultivate a humanistic environment; a culture that values each individual, their beliefs and perspectives, while fostering a welcoming, respectful and healthy environment for all students, employees, patients, and visitors. 

Inclusion, diversity and health equity are top priorities at UF, UFCD and UF Health. The college has continually made tangible strides toward a model academic and environmental culture in which differences are invited, recognized, appreciated and valued. 


SNDA Group Picture
2021 UFCD Student National Dental Association Chapter

The college boasts a diverse student population, including one of the most diverse classes in history in the DMD Class of 2025. The past year brought additional enhancements to existing programming and an array of new programs and initiatives to bolster diversity efforts among faculty, staff, students and residents, including the addition of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Work Group, composed of faculty and staff, and Diversity Chairs within each DMD class to help celebrate wide-ranging cultural and social groups through various forms of recognition.  

  • UFCD began introducing Crucial Conversations training for staff, a workshop that helps develop skills for creating alignment and agreement by fostering open dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics, and will begin extending training to faculty in the next year. 
  • Implicit Bias training, continuing the work of the college’s Black Student Advisory Group, and the development of a clear and direct antidiscrimination statement and resource guide with input from Black faculty, staff and students were all initiatives in the last year.  
  • Increasing recruitment and outreach to include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including an annual event established to connect Black UFCD alumni, faculty and students to prospective students, is a pillar of the college’s holistic admissions process, as is ensuring increased diversity among admissions and orientation committees.  
  • Keys to Success and the Summer Health Professions Education Program, both led by the College of Dentistry’s assistant dean for student advocacy and inclusion, are pipeline programs and immersive experiences for Black and underrepresented students, respectively, at the UF Academic Health Center for those interested in the health professions.  
  • In addition to recruitment efforts, scholarship support for those underrepresented in dentistry is at the forefront of admissions efforts. The Dr. Cecil White Jr. Scholars Fund to honor the impactful legacy of Gator Dentist Cecil White, D.M.D., became a reality this year – and has already made an exceptional impact – thanks to a generous gift from White’s classmate and friend John Dozier, D.M.D., and his wife, Martha, to support scholarships for DMD students who have demonstrated a commitment to breaking down barriers and welcoming individuals from groups underrepresented in dentistry and at UFCD. 
HEED graphic

While focusing on diversity, inclusion, health equity and access in the college, serving those underrepresented populations in the state of Florida and beyond is a huge part of the College of Dentistry mission. More than 70 percent of the college’s patients meet federal low-income guidelines. Through its five dental centers, the UF Statewide Network for Community Oral Health and numerous partnerships and programs in Alachua County and the Sunshine State, UFCD serves patients from all 67 counties in Florida. Add in educational service trips to Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica and the Bahamas, where 500-800 patients are served on a traditional non-COVID year, UFCD’s access to oral health care is immeasurable.

“The 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 HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.” 

INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award, the College of Dentistry will be featured, along with 50 other recipients, in the December 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 


2021 Insight Into Diversity Health Professions HEED Award Winners

  • A.T. Still University of Graduate Health Sciences 
  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine 
  • Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California, Davis 
  • College of Public Health at The Ohio State University 
  • Columbia University College of Dental Medicine 
  • Duke University School of Nursing 
  • Florida State University College of Medicine 
  • Frontier Nursing University 
  • Johns Hopkins School of Nursing 
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine 
  • McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions 
  • University of Michigan Medical School 
  • Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing 
  • Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences 
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine 
  • Texas A&M University (TAMU) – College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) 
  • Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy 
  • The Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc. 
  • The Medical University of South Carolina 
  • The Ohio State University College of Medicine 
  • The Ohio State University College of Nursing 
  • The Ohio State University College of Optometry 
  • The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine 
  • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health 
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health 
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) 
  • University of California, Riverside School of Medicine 
  • University of Cincinnati College of Nursing 
  • University of Cincinnati James L Winkle College of Pharmacy 
  • University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences 
  • University of Florida College of Dentistry 
  • University of Florida College of Pharmacy 
  • University of Houston College of Nursing 
  • University of Kentucky College of Medicine 
  • University of Louisville Health Sciences Center 
  • University of Maryland School of Nursing 
  • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine 
  • University of Minnesota School of Nursing 
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center 
  • University of Rochester School of Nursing 
  • University of Virginia School of Medicine 
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing 
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center 
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing 
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine 
  • Weill Cornell Medicine 

For more information about the 2021 Health Professions HEED Award, visit insightintodiversity.com.


2021 HEED logo

About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or 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.