By: Tyler K. Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine (UMKC SOM) received the 2022 Health Professions 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 Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing United States health colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, UMKC SOM will be featured, along with 64 other recipients, in the December 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the second year UMKC SOM has been named as a Health Professions HEED Award recipient with the last award in 2018.

“We are honored and humbled to receive the INSIGHT into Diversity HEED Award for our continued efforts and energies about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Receiving the HEED Award recognizes our programs and initiatives that embrace the medical school’s mission towards creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture within the learning and clinical environments for graduate and medical students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff. As a top priority at UMKC School of Medicine, we strive to infuse DEI into all academic units while ensuring that all identities feel seen, heard, valued, and respected.”  

  • Tyler K. Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected UMKC SOM for its continued commitment about justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging for School of Medicine community. Programs, initiatives, and activities highlighted in the award submission include the following:

  • Addition of the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into the Office of DEI
  • Anti-Racism and Cultural Bias Program for medical students prior to beginning their clinical rotations
  • Creation and implementation of UNITED (Uniting Numerous medIcal Trainees in Equity and Diversity) to support a sense of community and belonging among residents and fellowship trainees
  • Expansion of the Students in Training, in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR) Program to include junior and senior high school students in the summer program as well as quarterly experiences and touch points throughout the academic year to support students’ academic success and preparedness for college
  • Summer Success Seminar Series providing incoming BA-MD students with an opportunity to become acclimated with starting medical school
  • Office of DEI representative participating as a voting member on the admissions and selection committees for the BA-MD, MD only, PA, and AA programs
  • Office of DEI representative participating on the care team for students in academic risk
  • Faculty Scholars Program to support and encourage the academic promotion success of faculty members with emphasis on faculty historically underrepresented in medicine
  • Increased budget for the Office of DEI to support programming and initiatives including financial support for underrepresented in medicine student affinity groups’ travel to regional and national conferences

“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.”

UMKC SOM finds it an honor and privilege to be recognized with the 2022 INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award among the many deserving health professional schools throughout the United States.