School of Nursing earns 2022 INSIGHT Into Diversity award

By Tatum Lyles Flick
VUSN Communications Specialist

For the third year in a row, the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has won a Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

Logo for the Insight Into Diversity HEED Award 2022“We are beyond excited to receive a 2022 INSIGHT Into Diversity award,” said Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean and the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing. “Our faculty, staff and students work to promote inclusivity every day in so many ways. We are fortunate to have an active Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee as well as an outstanding and involved Associate Dean for EDI, Dr. Rolanda Johnson (PhD’98). She guides EDI education and collaborative activities that keep us focused on how we can continuously improve.”

Among VUSN diversity activities are the school’s annual diversity month, when student affinity groups organize a series of events exploring issues and topics relating to the group; an annual EDI campaign that encourages inclusion and stepping outside one’s comfort zone; and a monthly literary club designed to facilitate conversation about EDI topics.

“One project that figured greatly in our EDI efforts this year was a video simulation created by Dr. Johnson, Program Coordinator Beth Sims and a team of volunteers illustrating a variety of situations that related specifically to equity, inclusion and bias,” Jeffries said. “The response has been remarkable—100 percent of our staff and almost 100 percent of our faculty went through the simulation and felt it gave them tools and understanding of EDI issues. It’s a remarkable initiative. Dr. Johnson now has adapted it for students and the first groups participating in the simulation.”

As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award—a national honor recognizing U.S. health colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—VUSN will be featured, along with 64 other recipients, in the December issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“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.”

More information about the 2022 Health Professions HEED Award is available at