LSU Veterinary School receives Insight Into Diversity 2020 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

Student Association of Black Veterinarians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 16, 2020

BATON ROUGE, LA—The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine 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. As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award—a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—the LSU SVM will be featured, along with 45 other recipients, in the December 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the first year that the LSU SVM has received this award, and the LSU SVM is one of only four veterinary schools in the U.S. to receive it this year.

“On behalf of the LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion we are thrilled to celebrate with our School of Veterinary Medicine on their inaugural selection as a HEED recipient in the health professions,” said Dereck Rovaris, PhD, LSU vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “How wonderful it is that we are both being honored this year. The SVM's commitment to DEI is impressive. Undeniable support and leadership from Dean Baines, Dr. Gaschen, Dr. Annie Daniel, Mr. Watkins and so many others have helped to position the SVM for such distinction in diversity. Keep up the good work.”

“The School of Veterinary Medicine is very pleased to accept this award, which recognizes our efforts to augment and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Joel D. Baines, VMD, Ph.D., dean of the LSU SVM. “We strive to treat everyone in our sphere—our students, faculty, staff, and clients—with mutual respect every day regardless of their backgrounds. Put simply, the interactions between different people with different perspectives makes us better veterinarians.”

The LSU SVM’s diversity efforts are led by Lorrie Gaschen, DVM, Ph.D., Dr.med.vet., DECVDI, director of diversity, equity and inclusion and professor of diagnostic imaging, and Donnie Watkins, diversity coordinator. “The SVM began forging a new path in diversity, equity and inclusion in 2014, and we are now seeing the positive effects of increased diversity in our students, faculty, staff and administrators and the power of diverse perspectives that drive cultural change,” said Dr. Gaschen. “The stage has been set and I believe that more good things are to come for our school because of the incredible community within it.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected the LSU SVM for several reasons, a few of which are described below:

  • Improved student diversity whereby the Under Represented Minority (URM) pool of DVM program applicants has held steady at approximately 21 percent, and the Class of 2024 has 28 percent URM;
  • Development of minority affinity groups, including the LSU SVM Student Association of Black Veterinarians and a soon-to-be-established Latin X student organization;
  • Established minority scholarships for recruitment;
  • Added diversity and inclusion education in the DVM curriculum;
  • Improved diversity in the administration, including the first Asian male associate dean, the first Black female assistant dean, and the first female department head; and
  • Created implicit bias training for faculty search committees and individuals reviewing student applications.

“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.”

Other recipients of the 2020 Health Professions HEED Award are as follows:

  • A.T. Still University
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine
  • Duke University School of Nursing
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)
  • Florida State University College of Medicine
  • Frontier Nursing University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS)
  • Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • School of Nursing, University of Minnesota
  • TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine
  • Texas A&M University - College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
  • Texas A&M University College of Dentistry
  • The Medical University of South Carolina
  • The Ohio State University College of Medicine
  • The Ohio State University College of Nursing
  • The Ohio State University College of Optometry
  • The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix
  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - New York
  • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health
  • University of California, Riverside School of Medicine
  • University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
  • University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
  • University of Cincinnati, College of Allied Health Sciences
  • University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
  • University of Florida College of Dentistry
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Nursing
  • University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
  • University of Michigan Medical School
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • University of Rochester School of Nursing
  • University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy
  • University of the Incarnate Word Feik School of Pharmacy
  • University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN)
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Weill Cornell Medicine

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

About the LSU SVM

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 32 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research, and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

About INSIGHT Into Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com. 

Photo: Founding members of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Student Association of Black Veterinarians (from left to right) are Sydney Hall, Darius Statham, Kierra Coleman, Jennifer Olinde, and Oliva Johnson, all members of the Class of 2023.

Media Contact 

Ginger Guttner, APR

Communications Manager

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

225-578-9922

ginger@lsu.edu