College of Optometry Receives “Insight Into Diversity” 2022 HEED Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the fourth consecutive year, The Ohio State University College of Optometry has received the 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 2022 Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Ohio State Optometry will be featured, along with 64 other recipients, in the December 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.


“We are committed to being leaders in inclusive excellence in optometry. That means that we endeavor to engage everyone in the work of teaching and learning optometry and vision science, in order to provide the best, most equitable optometric care to everyone,” said Chief Diversity Officer Vondolee Delgado-Nixon, PhD. “This year we were particularly excited to share all our innovative work that demonstrates our ongoing commitment.”


Student-centered, purposeful strategies increased student diversity, created a sense of community, and provided students with tools for success. Strategic highlights included: the Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers (I-DOC) summer student pipeline program; the BuckEye Launch five-day, immersive summer bridge program; and new coursework integrated into the curriculum for the Class of 2025. This coursework built upon Ohio State Optometry’s existing curriculum, which included Implicit Bias With Mitigation Strategies, a second-year interprofessional course called Anti-Racism in Action (ARIA), and co-curricular book and film clubs, as well as invited speakers. A continued favorite is a discussion series led by the College of Optometry’s dean.


“I teach first-year optometry students about health disparities by discussing The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman,” said Dean Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD. “Every year, I am inspired by their understanding and engagement of the issues raised by the book. Such discussions are key to our diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just future.”


Ohio State Optometry proudly joins its campus health sciences peers on this esteemed list, The Ohio State University Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Veterinary Medicine.