School of Nursing Receives Insight Into Diversity 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

UW–Madison School of Nursing Selected as One of Just 51 Institutions Nationwide


2021 Award for Higher Education Excellence in Diversity

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing has been selected as a 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipient by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Officially announced on October 15, the annual Health Professions HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. health colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. As one of just 51 recipients selected nationwide, this marks the first time the UW–Madison School of Nursing has been selected as an honoree. All recipients will be featured in the December 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“This recognition reflects achievement in our diversity initiatives, and our commitment to advancing inclusive excellence in the School of Nursing and beyond,” says School of Nursing Dean Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN. “It is only through commitment, persistence, and intention that we will realize our ultimate goal of achieving diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected the School of Nursing for its commitment to social justice, and health equity. As part of its efforts, the School requires all undergraduates to take a three-credit course titled, “Social Justice and Health Equity”. In addition, faculty include concepts like culturally congruent care, intersectionality, and social justice in additional courses throughout the curriculum. Both faculty and students are encouraged to critically evaluate their materials for the presence or absence of diverse cultural representation. In addition, the School of Nursing has developed clinical immersion experiences for students, including opportunities to gain experience in two tribal clinics in Wisconsin.

“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 detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

On top of the School’s efforts to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into the academic setting, efforts extend out into the surrounding community and beyond, reaching individuals on the state, region, and national levels. Complementary content and programming hosted by the School of Nursing, including the Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Health Summit as well as the Native Nations Nursing Summit, instill awareness of social determinants of health, barriers to health care, and disparate outcomes in health care.

“This award signifies an important step in our School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion journey, but it is also important to recognize that we are never done. We can always do better, and when we make mistakes or notice gaps, we are co-creating a climate where all faculty, staff, and students can grow, have difficult dialogues, and improve their teaching, research, service, and practice,” says School of Nursing Diversity Officer Mel Freitag, PhD. “We hope that this recognition will only continue to support us in building a culture of health, and ultimately produce an explicitly anti-racist nursing workforce that will take a leadership role in promoting health equity and improving health outcomes for all.”

The School of Nursing actively fosters an environment of inclusive excellence that welcomes diversity among its students, faculty, and staff. Awareness of diversity and promotion of inclusivity is central to the School’s curricula, social and educational events, and resources and services. Those interested in learning more about the School of Nursing’s inclusive excellence efforts can visit the diversity and inclusion home page.