The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has received the 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. This is the fourth year in a row that UMSON has been named a HEED Award recipient.
The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UMSON was featured, along with 50 other recipients, in the December 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“Diversity and inclusion is about all of us, and all of us figuring out how to walk through this learning and working environment together,” said Jeffrey Ash, EdD, assistant professor and associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “Having attained four consecutive HEED awards, we have made clear our intention of establishing an environment of inclusive excellence. However, our work is not about acquiring awards; in fact, they are meaningless without action. Success is not simply establishing a standard, but maintaining and continually building upon, challenging, and disrupting what was and growing the standard of excellence.”
The Health Professions HEED Award application is open to all accredited U.S. and Canadian health profession schools, including medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, veterinary, and osteopathic medical schools. The award is the only national initiative that honors individual institutions for being outstanding examples of colleges, universities, or health profession schools that are committed to making diversity and inclusion a top priority across their campuses.
The HEED Award’s rigorous application includes questions related to recruitment and retention of students and employees, continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion. The program recognizes institutions that weave diversity and inclusion into their everyday work. The school’s In UniSON anti-oppression position statement guides these daily efforts and interactions.
In its 2021 application, UMSON highlighted three areas of innovation: monthly communications to UMSON stakeholders about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s news and events, professional development offerings focused on increasing awareness and taking action against structural and systemic racism, and the development and launch of the anti-oppression statement.
“We want to acknowledge we are aware that barriers and challenges exist still; however, our work of inclusive excellence means that we will hold ourselves accountable in our message that no form of oppression is acceptable,” said Ash. “The In UniSON statement is a landmark that will guide our school’s diversity journey for decades to come, and we are very proud of that.”