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A group of first year OSU medical students during 2021 Orientation Week.
A group of first year OSU medical students during 2021 Orientation Week.

OSU-CHS honored with AOA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Award

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 | sara.plummer@okstate.edu

OSU Center for Health Sciences and its College of Osteopathic Medicine was recognized by the American Osteopathic Association with the 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unification Award.

This is the first year AOA has presented the DEI Unification Award.

“The award recognizes one individual and one organization that has proven exemplary leadership and commitment to promoting and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the osteopathic community,” said AOA President Joseph A. Giaimo, D.O.

Assistant Dean of Diversity Brenda Davidson said her reaction to learning OSU-CHS had won the award was a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

“Earning this award is transforming. OSU-CHS embraces diversity, equity and inclusion every day throughout our campus. Everyone has a fair opportunity to be who they are, to exist and to know they are valued,” Davidson said. “Though we are extremely honored to have earned this prestigious award, we are humbled and understand that there is work to be done.”

OSU-CHS established the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on Oct. 1, 2020, and the DEI Committee was formed and held its first meeting a little over a month later.

Committee members include students, staff, residents and faculty who have worked to increase the number of initiatives and programs focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and to improve campus participation in events such as Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month and International Women’s Day.

The DEI Office and Student Government Association worked with OSU-CHS leadership to present Diversity Week activities across two campuses last February and included the Walk a Mile In Your Shoes campaign and a panel discussion with faculty from the LGBTQ+, Native American and Latinx communities.

The International Ministries and Latinx Club have also been established and more clubs and organizations are in that process at OSU-CHS.

“I’m incredibly proud of what our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has accomplished so far and I’m looking forward to their future work on behalf of our institution,” said OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens. “This award from AOA recognizes our university’s commitment to promoting and advancing DEI initiatives in the osteopathic community.”

For Davidson, working in her role as assistant dean of diversity has meant learning from people of different backgrounds and cultures allowing her to gain more knowledge by being exposed to different experiences and perspectives, and that is exactly what she wants to happen across OSU-CHS.

“Having individuals who are not all the same, enhances innovation, creation and success for all. Understanding others’ perspectives, embracing those traits that make us different and recognizing everyone’s contributions is very important,” Davidson said. “It is not enough to include people at the table, we need to acknowledge that everyone has a voice and to embrace each other for their unique backgrounds.”

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