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K-State College of Veterinary Medicine again earns national recognition for diversity efforts

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

College of Vet Med HEED

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University is again being recognized nationally for its efforts enhancing diversity with the 2022 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — For the second year in a row, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University is being recognized for its efforts to enhance diversity in its academic environment.

The college has received the 2022 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. It's the second HEED Award received by the university this year. K-State, for the ninth year in a row, was recently announced as recipient of the award at the university level for diversity and inclusion efforts.

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 — K-State will be featured, along with 62 other recipients, in the December 2022 issue of the magazine. K-State is one of only six veterinary schools to be included on the list and the only institution from Kansas.

"It is a great honor to be chosen a second time for the Health Professions HEED Award," said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We believe it's important for us to continue to strengthen and grow in our efforts to provide an inclusive, welcoming environment for all. As we prepare the leaders of tomorrow, we are committed to helping them foster the values of diversity, equity and inclusion wherever their future destinations take them.

"I am grateful to Dr. Callie Rost, our assistant dean for admissions and director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, for helping our college maintain a high standard and continue to lead our efforts for this critical mission," Rush said.

Insight Into Diversity selected K-State for the honor because of the veterinary college's efforts to identify and incorporate opportunities for growth in diversity, equity and inclusion.

"Recognition from Insight into Diversity with the HEED Award reflects the efforts of our students, faculty and staff who take pride in contributing to the culture of inclusiveness in our college," Rost said. "We regularly seek feedback to evaluate our progress and to identify new opportunities to enhance our learning environment."

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to complete a wide variety of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging training through the Diversity and Resilience Institute of El Paso, the Purdue Certificate for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association's Brave Space Certificate Program.

The college also rewards diversity efforts by offering the Walter C. Bowie Scholarship, specifically designated for students demonstrating a commitment to bringing diverse people together and for serving disadvantaged populations. Fourth-year veterinary student Bairon Madrigal was presented with this year's scholarship for his efforts in creating the LatinX Student Veterinary Medical Association, Avian Club and Latinx Veterinary Medical Association to promote opportunities for student interaction and inclusion.

The College of Veterinary Medicine has experienced growth by expanding its recruiting practices with two U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute for Food and Agriculture grants: SPARK and SPRINT. These programs focus on recruiting students from rural Kansas and students with an indigenous, native or tribal heritage.

Internal activities include the development of a monthly Intercultural and Inclusion Lunch and Learn series. Outreach activities include This is How We ROLE, a program where veterinary students demonstrate the potential for a career in veterinary medicine to local, underrepresented youth populations. A large group of faculty, staff and students participate annually in Everybody Counts – Manhattan, a grassroots effort to provide social services and information in Riley County.

The college's Community Veterinary Outreach Program regularly provides animal health services at the Street Dog Coalition in Topeka, Santee Sioux Reservation in Nebraska, the Metro Lutheran Ministry Mission in Kansas City, Missouri, and other regional locations.

In December 2021, the college's outreach coordinator Ron Orchard, then a fourth-year veterinary student, was recognized by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges as the recipient of the 2022 Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship. In summer 2022, the outreach team collaborated with participants in the Washington Mandela Fellowship, a national program that engages young African leaders in hands-on leadership education and practical community-building experiences. The group participated in a community vaccination clinic for pets in Manhattan.