University of Rochester School of Nursing Receives National Award for Excellence in Diversity

Oct. 15, 2017
Health Professions HEED Award logo


The University of Rochester School of Nursing has been selected to receive the 2017 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, osteopathic, and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The UR School of Nursing will be featured, along with 23 other recipients, in the December 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
One of only eight schools of nursing – and the only nursing school from New York or New England – to be honored, the UR School of Nursing boasts a rich mixture of students of different ages, backgrounds, and talents. The most recent class of 66 students in its Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses (ABPNN) included students from across the U.S. and countries such as Ghana, China, Ukraine and Trinidad. Twenty-three percent of the new ABPNN students were from underrepresented groups, and 24 percent were male, more than two times the national average of males in the nursing workforce. Overall, students from underrepresented groups make up approximately 35 percent of the school’s full-time student body. Nationally, less than one-quarter of the estimated 3 million nurses are from diverse racial or ethnic groups.
“I’m very proud of the overwhelming diversity of our students, faculty, and staff in race, ethnicity, gender, faith, sexual orientation, culture, learning abilities, and socio-economic background,” said Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing and vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Diversity and inclusion are issues that are inherently important in the education of future health care providers, so it’s critical that we not only welcome students from diverse backgrounds, but that we continue to support their growth and prepare them to serve an increasingly global community.
“Being honored with a HEED Award is a tremendous recognition of our commitment to building an inclusive community that hears and respects all voices.”
The school features several innovative programs that contribute to and support diversity efforts on campus. Its Council for Diversity and Inclusiveness includes faculty, staff, and students from across the school and works through formal initiatives and informal dialogues to enhance the campus climate for all. The council hosts a number of workshops, and participated in Safe Space Training to gather critical knowledge on LGBTQ issues.
The student-led LIFT program (Leading with Integrity For Tomorrow) provides opportunities for students to engage in learning and discussions related to leadership, advocacy, and diversity.
The School of Nursing has also been successful in developing a pipeline of faculty who are underrepresented in nursing. The Dean’s Pre-Doctoral Faculty Award provides full financial support for students from underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral education, and the school has recruited strong underrepresented candidates through its postdoctoral-to-assistant-professor position, which allows faculty members to complete their postdoctoral experience with a commitment to hiring them directly to a tenure-track position.
“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 magazine. “We take a holistic 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 accomplished every day across their campus.”
Other recipients of the 2017 Health Professions HEED Award are:
A.T. Still University
Augusta University, Health Sciences Colleges
Cal State LA School of Nursing
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Florida State University College of Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
The Medical University of South Carolina
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
The Ohio State University College of Nursing
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
University of Florida College of Dentistry
University of Houston School of Nursing
University of Memphis, Loewenberg College of Nursing
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy
University of Virginia School of Medicine
University of Washington School of Nursing
For more information about the University of Rochester School of Nursing, visit
For more information about the 2017 Health Professions HEED Award, visit