Students Tiffany Blanco and Natalia Umanzor from the Stony Brook School of Health Professions recently received the Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Exxat Student Scholarship Program. The award honors students who promote diversity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce, leading to improved healthcare outcomes for all.
Blanco is a student in the Speech-Language Pathology program, in which she serves as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) representative.
“With my role as DEI representative, I was able to assist in hosting workshops focusing on implicit bias and transgender voice therapy to influence other members to be more open-minded and learn about different perceptions. In addition, I helped to implement coursework to highlight inequitable and unjust healthcare practices towards minorities,” said Blanco. “I hope to use this award to better advocate and create more opportunities for people to get involved with the community and influence minorities to join the healthcare field. With the lack of diversity in the field, I am pushing to become an advocate while also continuously growing as a clinician to better serve my community.”
Umanzor is a third-year student in the Occupational Therapy program. “I would like to work in underserved communities where there is a lack/underrepresentation of Spanish speaking practitioners to be an advocate for my patients and their needs,” said Umanzor. “Being selected as a recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion award means to me that I am proudly representing the small percentage of Hispanic/Latino students within the profession of occupational therapy.”
Blanco and Umanazor were among four recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Award. Exxat recognized a total of 16 students from across the country by awarding scholarships in the areas of Scholarly Productivity, Diversity
and Inclusion, Leadership, and Care for Underserved Communities.
“We at the School of Health Professions are so proud of Natalia and Tiffany for receiving Exxat scholarships for diversity and inclusion,” said Stacy Jaffee Gropack, dean and professor in the School of Health Professions. “Both students demonstrate a deep commitment to contributing to create a diverse and inclusive healthcare workforce, striving to advocate and help build opportunities for everyone to join the healthcare field.”