Since its founding in 1898, DMU has emphasized respect for all persons, meeting the health needs of underserved populations and giving students opportunities to learn from and serve people of different backgrounds. In more recent years, it has incorporated inclusiveness in its key values and greatly expanded programming to enhance students’ cultural competency.
For its ongoing commitment to diversity and contributions to promoting civil rights in Iowa, DMU was among the recipients of the 2015 Friends of Iowa Civil Rights Award who were honored on Oct. 30 in Des Moines. In addition, on Jan. 18 DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., was honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award of the Iowa Department of Human Rights Office on the Status of African Americans.
“With our focus on quality and excellence, it is our goal to prepare our students to embrace and respect a changing demographic, with a focus on enhancing the cultural competency and cultural sensitivity of not only our students but our staff and faculty as well,” President Franklin says. “We are very much aware that there are health disparities, with minority and disadvantaged populations experiencing greater negative health outcomes, and we are also aware of the challenged communities who need greater access to health care.”
Friends of Iowa Civil Rights Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization established to educate individuals and groups on civil rights, assist civil rights efforts statewide, and recognize individuals and groups who have championed the cause of civil rights. Its Civil Rights Awards are given in the categories of individual, business, nonprofit/community organization and youth/young adult.
Under President Franklin’s leadership, DMU has launched new initiatives in its commitment to cultural competency and health equity. They include creation in 2012 of an office of multicultural affairs and numerous ongoing opportunities for the University community to learn and share frank dialogue on a variety of cultural topics.