Ohio State University: Five health sciences colleges at Ohio State honored for diversity efforts

For demonstrating an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, five health sciences graduate programs at The Ohio State University 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.

The College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Optometry, College of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine were recognized. Ohio State is the only academic institution in the country to have five colleges honored with the award.

“The recognition bestowed upon these five colleges is a testament to our collective commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Melissa Gilliam, executive vice president and provost at Ohio State. “The entire university community benefits from this recognition as we strive to live up to our land-grant university values.”

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, leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion. Ohio State diversity and inclusion efforts include:

College of Medicine: The College of Medicine is executing an anti-racism action plan that includes a review of medical curriculum to remove racism and bias. In addition, the college appointed vice chairs of diversity, equity and inclusion in all 26 departments and implemented best practices for inclusive faculty searches, which includes creating a standing search committee within each department whose members will complete implicit bias mitigation training.

College of Nursing: In May 2021, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of Nursing held virtual graduate entry welcome panels for incoming graduate entry students of all backgrounds. The panels were designed to enhance incoming graduate students’ understanding of psychosocial, academic, clinical, professional practice and research aspects of the nursing student experience.

College of Optometry: With an aim of cultivating interest in optometry as a career and creating a pipeline of students who exhibit inclusive thinking and behavior, the College of Optometry offers the I-DOC – Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers – summer program for underrepresented diverse students. During this program, students learn about health disparities in optometry, explore different careers in optometry and review how to be successful learners and applicants.

College of Public Health: In 2020, the College of Public Health launched a trio of scholarships designed to increase diversity and equitable access to public health education: the Ruth Ella Moore, Dr. Amy Acton Future Leaders of Public Health and the Multicultural Public Health Hood scholarships. The scholarships will be awarded annually with the intention of championing those who are first-generation or trailblazing students, those who have overcome significant challenges and those students who seek to advance Black Americans.

College of Veterinary Medicine: The College of Veterinary Medicine has a strategic focus 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. This includes the creation of several new scholarships and the use of a virtual recruitment platform that provides an opportunity to connect with historically Black colleges and universities for virtual admissions sessions.