Insight Into Diversity magazine has awarded the University of Florida College of Pharmacy with a 2022 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, Award for the second straight year. The national honor recognizes the college’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion and its innovative efforts to champion diversity-related programs.
Only three pharmacy colleges in the nation earned a 2022 Health Professions HEED Award. The UF College of Pharmacy will be featured, along with the UF College of Dentistry and 63 other recipients, in the December 2022 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine — the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
“The Health Professions HEED award confirms a commitment our college has made to advance diversity, inclusion and health equity across our core mission areas,” said John Gums, Pharm.D., FCCP, interim dean of the UF College of Pharmacy. “It is a significant achievement to win the Health Professions HEED award in consecutive years and to be one of only three pharmacy colleges nationally to receive this important honor.”
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected the UF College of Pharmacy based on many strides made over the past year to champion diversity, inclusion and health equity efforts. The following are a few of the programs highlighted in the college’s application this year:
- Continued to embrace the use of a holistic admissions process which resulted in 42% of the incoming fall 2022 Pharm.D. class from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds and 22% were first-generation students.
- Boasted the highest percentage of underrepresented minority students in the Pharm.D. student body among the top 40 pharmacy schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report
- Hosted 25 high school students at the inaugural Gator Pharmacy Exploration Camp in June. The program for rising high school seniors was designed to help them engage with pharmacists and researchers and learn more about the diverse field of pharmacy, demystify the college preparation process and receive mentorship and guidance from current pharmacy students.
- Supported the development of two new student organization affinity groups for Black and Asian students — joining a pre-existing student organization for Latinx students. These student organizations aim to create a greater sense of connectedness among students with shared lived experiences, increase networking and leadership opportunities, advocate for health equity in their respective communities and celebrate the culture, experiences, perseverance and challenges faced by historically marginalized communities.
- Continued to support pipeline programs such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program and the Summer Undergraduate Research at Florida, which introduce historically marginalized students to career opportunities in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences.
“Winning another HEED award validates the hard work our faculty, staff and students have put forth to advocate and embrace diversity, inclusion and health equity efforts in our college” said John Allen, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCCP, FCCM, FCCP, associate dean for diversity inclusion and health equity in the UF College of Pharmacy and a clinical associate professor. “This work is not a destination but a journey. We must continue making strides to make the college a welcoming and inclusive place for all and ensure that everyone in our college is valued for the rich diversity added by their presence.”
According to Insight Into Diversity, the Health Professions HEED award process consisted of a comprehensive and rigorous application that included questions related 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. The magazine seeks to identify schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across campuses.
In addition to the UF colleges of Pharmacy and Dentistry winning Health Professions HEED Awards, the University of Florida received a 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for the first time. It recognizes UF is among the top-tier universities committed to diversity and inclusion.