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Giving Back Award

Dr. Gregory Townsend received the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The Giving Back Award honors college and university administrators who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. Dr. Gregory Townsend will be featured, along with 38 other recipients, in the April 2017 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Giving Back Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on their outstanding demonstration of social responsibility; involvement with students, faculty, staff, and the community; and commitment to serving underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and support for diversity and inclusion.Photo Jun 14 10 20 07 AM

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Dr. Gregory Townsend due to his ongoing engagement within his community as well as his advocacy in the School of Medicine. Dr. Townsend encourages a broad sense of inclusion and also embraces the breadth of diversity within the education realm. Dr. Townsend has been a role model of inclusivity and has advanced the vital mission of creating a more diverse environment at the School of Medicine.

Dr. Townsend has been outspoken in increasing all forms of diversity that includes disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, race/ethnicity, nationality, and other social dimensions that are important for the School and academic medicine. Dr. Townsend exemplifies the qualities of a great community leader as he promotes a vibrant energy for change in all areas of both his personal and professional life.

“The Giving Back Award is being awarded to leaders of institutions of higher education who exemplify what it truly means to ‘give back’ to others,” says Holly Mendelson, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “These administrators are role models, and we honor their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on their campuses and in their communities.”

A call for nominations for the Giving Back Award was announced in October 2016. Award recipients include administrators of both community colleges and baccalaureate-granting institutions. For more information about the 2017 Giving Back Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit insightintodiversity.com.


Planning an event? Check out the 2017 Multicultural Calendar below to ensure you are being inclusive.

2017 Multicultural Calendar

Dr. Randolph Canterbury,Canterbury_160-2
named a recipient of the
2017 John T. Casteen, III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award

Dr. Randolph Canterbury: Changing the Face and Culture of Medicine at UVA

Now senior associate dean for education in the School of Medicine, Canterbury first came to UVA in 1980 to serve his residency in internal medicine and psychiatry. Over the years, he has held several leadership roles, chairing the psychiatry department, and, in 2014, serving for a year as interim dean of the Medical School.
But it was his role in overhauling the admissions process that has changed the face and culture of medicine at UVA.
After becoming associate dean of admissions  in 2003, he saw that the percentage of medical students from underrepresented groups was unacceptably low. He restructured the admissions committee, bringing together a more diverse team and broadening the criteria for considering applications to include more students from different backgrounds, eventually expanding the idea of diversity to include LGBT students, who had largely been overlooked, as well as women and students of color.
The percentage of medical students from underrepresented backgrounds increased from less than 6 percent to 26 percent over a decade, and it continues at about that level. At the same time, the overall performance of UVA medical students and their academic credentials improved dramatically.
“Our data suggest, indeed, increasing diversity increases academic excellence in medical education,” wrote the members of the School of Medicine Diversity Consortium.
Canterbury has been invited to give presentations about UVA’s success to other groups, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, and his work has been referenced in medical education literature, wrote alumnus Dr. Michael Moxley, now medical director at Georgetown University, who was the UVA School of Medicine’s assistant and then associate dean for diversity and medical education from 2009 to 2014.
The sustainable and quantifiable results are only part of the story, however, according to his nominators. They emphasized “the passion for and the dedication to diversity that Dr. Canterbury exemplifies each and every day.”
Together with the first assistant dean for diversity he hired, they traveled around the state and the country to speak to and recruit students, even in high schools. He established a retreat for the admissions committee on cross-cultural sensitivity, diversity and inclusion. Canterbury met individually with all the Medical School applicants invited for an interview, memorizing their names, schools and hometowns.
“These actions put them at ease, so that they could be their best and authentic selves and shine in their interviews. Written comments from School of Medicine Admissions surveys noted this, again, and again,” wrote his Diversity Consortium nominators.
The UVA chapters of the Student National Medical Association and Latino Student Medical Association, among several others, also supported Canterbury’s nomination.
In their letter, the student representatives of these associations wrote, “Our community of students is supportive and loving of each other. We feel that we have a voice, and Dr. Canterbury created an admissions process to make this a reality. So Dr. Canterbury’s vision is what has allowed us to grow and thrive in this community.”
“It has been very exciting and gratifying to have played a role in helping our school become more diverse and achieve a higher degree of excellence in medical education,” Canterbury said.