14:44 PM

Diversity efforts in Ohio State health science colleges praised

University is only U.S. academic institution with 4 colleges honored

The Ohio State University colleges of medicine, nursing, optometry and veterinary medicine are being honored for their outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

These four programs have again received the INSIGHT into Diversity magazine 2020 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. INSIGHT into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

This is the second consecutive year that all four programs have been named as a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Ohio State is the only academic institution in the country to have four colleges receive the 2020 Health Professions HEED award. The colleges of nursing, medicine and veterinary medicine have received the award in previous years as well.

“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,” said INSIGHT Into Diversity publisher Lenore Pearlstein.

The award recognizes the university’s efforts in recruitment and retention of students and employees, continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.

“Ohio State’s colleges are focused on diversity and inclusion as essential components of our mission,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron. “By fostering these values in the health sciences, our students, faculty and staff are prepared to serve Ohioans well in the future.”

Each of the health sciences colleges incorporates diversity and inclusion throughout its student recruitment, teaching, research and service, including the creation and implementation of an Anti-Racism Action Plan that creates a foundation for structural and systemic change.

“I am extraordinarily proud of the continued advancements in diversity and inclusion that led INSIGHT Into Diversity to recognize Ohio State’s health science colleges. Much has been accomplished, but there is undoubtedly more to do,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at Ohio State and CEO of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “As educators, researchers and caregivers, we are committed to improving health and building a culture of equity to better care for the communities we serve.”

Below are highlights of the colleges’ diversity and inclusion efforts.

College of Medicine – There is a history of recruiting and supporting under-represented minority students – 24% of students are underrepresented minorities. The college also follows a holistic admissions process, and everyone on the selection committee receives Implicit Bias training. There is diversity among the faculty and college leadership. The college requires a diverse pool of applicants in the hiring process and requires search firms it uses to include diverse candidates in the final pool of all candidates.

College of Nursing – The Ohio State College of Nursing earned its fifth consecutive HEED award, in part because of its ability to build on progress made in academics, research, student engagement and community impact. Several College of Nursing faculty have current research focused on reducing health disparities; the college’s population of underrepresented students increased across academic programs; and the college leveraged technology to host a five-week virtual Summer Success Series that aimed to help develop soft skills in under-represented undergraduate students. The college also formed the affinity group Nursing Students of Color to retain and support students as they move toward graduation, and continued its Health Resources and Services Administration grant-funded work to support the education and development of community health workers to improve the health and well-being of their own neighborhoods.

College of Optometry – The College of Optometry focused on several key initiatives to foster diversity and inclusion in 2020, including: reimagining the role of the college’s chief diversity officer to be more broadly integrated into the structure of the college; enhancing the admissions process for diverse underrepresented students by employing mitigation strategies against implicit bias and searching for inclusive behaviors in all applicants; educating all faculty, staff and students on implicit bias and anti-racism; engaging in purposeful relationship-building between our diverse students and diverse alumni; integrating diversity, equity and inclusion in the policy documents that govern the college; and developing a pathway for diverse underrepresented students to become faculty. The college also updated its Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers program this year to be virtual, ensuring that this annual summer program continued its mission to attract underrepresented minority undergraduate students from across the U.S. to learn about optics, eye anatomy and vision disorders as well as the College of Optometry admissions process.

College of Veterinary Medicine – The College of Veterinary Medicine is focusing on recruiting underrepresented minorities and first-generation students by reducing barriers to enter the profession, providing engaging learning opportunities, and creating an academic community that fosters inclusion. An increase in scholarship awards helps alleviate some of the debt burden many students face. Be Well programming teaches a foundation of health and well-being skills before students enter their professional career. Outreach and engagement opportunities such as the Pet Owner and Pet Care Program and the Veterinary Medicine Outreach Program provide care to underserved populations and unique service-learning experiences for students.

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