UVA School of Medicine Recognized Nationally for Diversity, Inclusion Efforts

Claude Moore Building, UVA

For its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the University of Virginia School of Medicine has earned a national award from a higher education magazine.

For the seventh consecutive year, UVA School of Medicine has received the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which covers diversity in higher education. UVA is one of 35 health professions schools to receive the 2018 HEED Award.

“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.

The UVA School of Medicine supports a range of diversity initiatives. They include a Summer Medical Leadership Programto prepare college undergraduates from underrepresented groups for medical school and leadership roles in medicine, as well as partnering with community groups to improve access to care for local Latino residents through the Latino Health Initiative.

Over the past year, diversity and inclusion efforts at the School of Medicine as well as across UVA Health System have focused on how to respond when healthcare providers experience prejudice or bigotry while at work.

“We have a duty to take care of people regardless of beliefs, but we have a duty to everyone who works here, and to our other patients, to create an environment that is respectful,” said Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD, a UVA School of Medicine faculty member who helped form the Committee on Responding to Discriminatory Behavior. The committee consists of more than 30 faculty, staff, medical students and medical residents.

Along with messaging throughout UVA Health System that reflects the institution’s commitment to inclusion, the committee developed training to help team members respond when they experience or witness acts of prejudice or bigotry. Along with online training available to all team members, the committee created a 90-minute workshop for faculty, supervisors and managers that included short films based on events experienced by care providers so participants can discuss how they would respond. The workshops began earlier this year in the Department of Medicine and will be conducted throughout the Health System in the next year.

“Our faculty, staff and students work constantly to make the School of Medicine and the Health System a more welcoming and inclusive place for everyone,” said David S. Wilkes, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine. “Earning the HEED Award for the seventh consecutive year is a testament to the hard work of countless people across the School of Medicine.”

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