Gillings School receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

October 16, 2019

2019 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

The leadership of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health is proud to receive the 2019 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for outstanding commitment to and ongoing promotion of inclusive excellence. Faculty, staff and students of the Gillings School have worked since its founding to advance health equity, and diversity and inclusion are a central part of that mission.

Two signature programs distinguish the historical commitment of the Gillings School to inclusive excellence. The Minority Health Conference, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, is the largest and longest running student-led health conference in the country. The conference seeks to raise awareness concerning health disparities and to mobilize coalitions of students, community members and academics to take action for change. The Gillings School also has hosted the National Health Equity Research Webcast for 25 years, covering topics such as structural racism, toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences, and the school to prison pipeline. In recent years, the webcast has been broadcast to more than 700 participants.

The Gillings School is one of the first two schools of public health to receive an annual HEED Award and will be featured, along with 42 other recipients, in the December 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Dr. Kauline Cipriani

Dr. Kauline Cipriani

“We are truly excited to be recognized for our efforts with the prestigious Health Professions HEED award,” said Kauline Cipriani, PhD, assistant dean for inclusive excellence and associate professor of public health leadership at the Gillings School. “It is a testament to our willingness to have difficult conversations and to examine ourselves and our processes in order to eliminate inequities and broaden access.”

The Gillings School welcomed Cipriani as assistant dean for inclusive excellence in February 2018. Since her arrival, the School has launched an ambitious Inclusive Excellence Action Plan and an Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council, which advises senior leadership and is charged with monitoring the progress of the action plan. The plan represents a road map for ensuring sustained equity in all of the School’s educational and workplace practices. Inclusive excellence trainings are now required for all new employees, and there will soon be a plan for current employees to receive and track trainings.

In addition, the Gillings School launched a new Master of Public Health concentration on Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights in fall 2018.

“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 — as well as 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 and 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.”

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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