Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award 2019
September 18, 2019

Today, the University of Maryland School of Public Health received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — the University of Maryland School of Public Health will be featured, along with 92 other recipients, in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The School of Public Health has worked to create an educational and work environment that is diverse, inclusive and supportive of all students and faculty through the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion. The school’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, with broad representation from faculty, staff and students, oversees the implementation of the strategic plan that includes specific and actionable diversity and inclusion goals. 

“We applied because as a profession and as a school of public health, we value and pride ourselves on engaging our entire community in diversity and inclusion efforts,” said Erin McClure, Chief of Staff and Diversity Officer for the School of Public Health. “It is about truly what it means to be inclusive so that everyone has a sense of belonging and can learn among and across different lived experiences. We do this through engagement and connectivity and conversation, including broadening our diversity and inclusion council, holding trainings and dialogues, reviewing and updating our curricula and expanding the charges for equity in hiring and the APT [appointments, promotion and tenure] and student admissions processes.”

A UMD School of Public Health program that demonstrates the school’s commitment to moving beyond collecting and reporting of data to putting the knowledge into practice includes the STEP (Students Transforming into Effective Professionals) program.

“Through this program, we are connecting our students to resources in equitable ways, getting to know our students and their backgrounds so that we can better connect them to mentoring and internship opportunities and leadership and development experiences,” said Ms. McClure. “We are working to embed these practices in what we do throughout the school and in the classroom so that it becomes institutionalized and part of our culture.”

Other points of pride include the newly launched Prevention Research Center (PRC), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded center dedicated to service, teaching, and research around issues of mental health among LGBTQ+ communities. The PRC team is diverse in identity, experience and research expertise and is also building a strong coalition that includes researchers across the University of Maryland campus, community members, therapists and practitioners. Key partnerships with other groups at UMD, including the LGBT Equity Center and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will elevate and increase the impact of the PRC’s work. 

“The efforts of the School of Public Health are important to the entire campus as well as for the larger community," said Dr. Georgina Dodge, UMD's Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion. "Not only are students exposed early to principles of social justice, they become advocates for humane treatment and access throughout their careers. And the inclusive attitudes adopted by faculty and staff within the school impact their colleagues in other units as well as students in other majors."

The SPH has also been a voice and advocate for social justice, including on issues of racism and immigration.

“It’s not only the role of the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” says McClure. “It should be woven into what we are all doing. We are doing that well here at the SPH and have strong leadership from our Dean, Boris Lushniak, to respond and speak out against racism and other acts of discrimination, hate and bias. We're proud to play that role and are proud to be recognized with the HEED award from INSIGHT into Diversity.”

“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.”

For more information about the 2019 HEED Award, visit insightintodiversity.com. View the complete list of institutions receiving the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

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About the University of Maryland School of Public Health
The UMD School of Public Health is a dynamic and growing school located at one of the nation’s top-ranked public research universities. Established in 2007 and accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health, our school offers undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs. We are committed to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of the diverse communities throughout Maryland and beyond. Grounded in the philosophy that health starts where we live, learn, work and play, we partner with communities and apply research to promote health, advance health equity and create policies that will enhance health across the lifespan.