University of Rochester Schools of Medicine, Nursing Honored with HEED Excellence in Diversity Award

Oct. 21, 2019
Two University of Rochester schools have been named recipients of the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The UR School of Nursing and the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry were among 43 health professions schools selected to receive 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. They will be featured in the December 2019 of INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

This is the third consecutive year the School of Nursing has been recognized with the honor. It is one of only eight nursing schools to receive the award in 2019, and the only one in New York or New England. The School of Medicine and Dentistry is receiving the award in its first application attempt.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the School of Nursing has been selected for this honor for a third straight year,” said Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing and vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). “Having this national recognition continues to bring visibility to our mission of pursuing excellence in clinical and scientific learning, discovering, and nursing care within an environment of diversity and inclusion.”

“We’re honored that the School of Medicine and Dentistry has been recognized for our dedication to creating an inclusive academic environment,” said Mark B. Taubman, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and CEO of the Medical Center. “This award reflects our vibrant community of students, postdoctoral appointees, and faculty.”

The UR School of Nursing has a rich history of diversity, welcoming future nurses of varying ages, backgrounds, and talents. Its most recent class of 80 students in the Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses (ABPNN) included students from across the U.S. and countries such as, Guyana, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Canada, and Bolivia. Thirty-nine percent of the new ABPNN students were from underrepresented groups, and 22 percent were male, more than two times the national average of men in the nursing workforce. Overall, 27 percent of the school’s 235 new students across all programs are from groups underrepresented in nursing, and 15 percent are male.

The school features several innovative programs that contribute to and support diversity efforts on campus. It hosts a number of workshops and lectures as part of its Racial Equity Series, and its Council for Diversity and Inclusiveness facilitates offerings of Safe Space Training to provide attendees with critical knowledge on LGBTQ issues. The school also has instituted a number of diversity-based scholarships to admit underrepresented students at the undergraduate level and help support them through graduate programs, creating a pipeline for them to careers in leadership and education.

The schools of nursing and medicine also collaborate on an annual diversity-themed picnic each fall welcoming back students and providing them with informal networking opportunities.

The School of Medicine is dedicated to providing an inclusive community for students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds. In the 2019 cohort of new undergraduate medical students, 43 percent identify as non-Caucasian, and 21 percent are from groups that are historically underrepresented in the field of medicine. The school’s graduate students and postdoctoral appointees hail from 21 countries.

Among the new initiatives implemented in the past year is RocDocs, a professional advancement program geared toward developing a pipeline for future faculty, particularly those from underrepresented groups in STEM. The school also launched the Meliora Professional Development course, which provides crucial academic support for first-year medical students, leading to a 100-percent retention rate and higher academic performance. URMC also launched a new Culture and Values website that centralizes resources and information about culture, diversity, inclusion, and equity. The Medical Center as a whole expanded its core values, known as ICARE, to Inclusion and Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence.

“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.”

Other recipients of the 2019 Health Professions HEED Award are:

  • A.T. Still University
  • California State University Los Angeles
  • Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Florida State University College of Medicine
  • Frontier Nursing University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS)
  • Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Rush University
  • Texas A&M University - College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM)
  • The College at Brockport, State University New York (SUNY)
  • The Medical University of South Carolina
  • The Ohio State University College of Nursing
  • The Ohio State University College of Optometry
  • The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy
  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • University of California at Irvine, School of Medicine
  • University of California, Riverside School of Medicine
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
  • University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
  • University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences
  • University of Florida College of Dentistry
  • University of Houston College of Nursing
  • University of Louisville Health Sciences Center
  • University of Maryland School of Nursing
  • University of Michigan Medical School
  • University of Minnesota School of Nursing
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • University of Virginia School of Nursing
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Weill Cornell Medicine

For more information about the University of Rochester School of Nursing, visit

For more information about the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, visit

For more information about the 2019 Health Professions HEED Award, visit