Alumni panel from 2020 CDM Black History Month event

Diversity Publication Honors CDM for Seventh Consecutive Year

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, has named Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM) a recipient of their 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Health Professions Award. CDM has received a HEED Award every year since 2014 and was the first dental school to receive this honor.

HEED award logo 2020

The award recognizes CDM’s work to foster inclusivity through events, student recruitment and retention efforts, and hiring practices. In the past year, for example, CDM created an organization to support LGBTQ+ students academically and socially, held a half-day workshop presenting faculty with tools and ideas for inclusive teaching, and began a series of school-wide conversations to “advance our knowledge, increase our awareness, and investigate solutions for combating racism and prejudice in our own community.”

“CDM’s commitment has been on display during the trying times of 2020,” said George Jenkins, DMD, the school’s assistant dean for equity, access, and inclusion. “Amid a health and racial pandemic, CDM has worked to support students suffering disproportionately from the impact of COVID-19 as well as engage members of our community most impacted by the civil unrest over police brutality. The establishment of the CDM Task Force on Race and ongoing CDM Community Conversations on Race have been a direct response to the moment as we continue to foster a supportive, equitable, and inclusive environment at the College of Dental Medicine.”

The school also has stepped forward by joining the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, of which Columbia University is a sponsoring member, and Time’s Up Healthcare, an initiative that engages health professional schools and institutions in the push toward equitable and dignified employment.

Alongside these newer activities, CDM has sustained critical programming such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) and State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP), which provide educational opportunities to underrepresented students interested in the health professions. CDM also has two faculty mentoring groups, one specifically for women, that completed a second year of sessions focused on professional growth and community-building.

CDM is among 46 institutions around the country to receive the Health Professions HEED Award this year.