School of Public Health receives 2020 diversity award

In being named a HEED recipient, the School of Public Health was recognized for its ongoing commitment to community engagement and positive campus climate.

SOPH 3School of Public Health students in class.
Photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo taken by Andrea Maybry.
The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has received the 2020 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

This is the first year that the School of Public Health has received a Health Professions HEED Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. health-related professional schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award, the school will be featured, along with 45 other recipients, in the December 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We are honored to be selected as a HEED recipient,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, dean of the UAB School of Public Health. “Diversity and inclusion are hallmarks of the school and throughout all of UAB. Our faculty, staff and students are working on solutions to public health issues of local, national and global concern, requiring innovative thinking that can only come from a diverse and collaborative environment.”

The school was recognized for its ongoing commitment to community engagement and positive campus climate. Earlier this year, the school hosted a series of virtual town halls focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the Black community, on women, and on food/shelter insecurity. Since 2014, the school has co-sponsored an annual Community Engagement Institute. This year’s symposium was “Sharing the Torch: Mobilizing Across Generations,” with a goal of creating critical conversations to examine the importance of effective and meaningful information exchange and to mobilize for improved community health. The school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion also presents a monthly seminar series to bring together faculty, staff, students and community partners to learn and identify actions to create a more inclusive environment.

 SOPH 2School of Public Health faculty, staff and students celebrate Homecoming in 2019.
Photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo taken by Andrea Maybry.
UAB as a whole was also named a 2020 HEED Award recipient and a 2020 Diversity Champion, the fourth year the university has been so honored.

“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.”

For more information about the 2020 Health Professions HEED Award, visit