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Dean of Students receives leadership award at IU School of Medicine

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The IU School of Medicine recently named Assistant Dean of Students Antwione Haywood the Outstanding Faculty or Staff Advocate for his leadership and advocacy for medical students.

“It’s awesome,” said Haywood, who is also an assistant professor of radiation oncology. “You know, I think things come in waves. Prior to this year, I hadn’t received any recognition for any work.

“And I think sometimes it just takes acknowledgement of your accomplishments for others to start to notice. So these things do matter.” 

The medical school has 21 award categories recognizing events, organizations and individuals making a “notable impact through community and student engagement.” 

As a professor and dean, Haywood says he spends close to 12 hours every week teaching and just as much time outside the classroom talking with students and listening to what they have to say. He also teaches the Mind Body Medicine program, which helps students manage stress and prevent the burnout that many in the medical field struggle with. 

“It’s easy to discount the value of one interaction. But it’s those things that truly make a difference,” he said. “We’ve seen it play out in our medical school where people have wanted to kick out students because they weren’t performing and then those [students] have gone on to be [in] amazing positions.”

Students submit comments along with their award nomination. One comment called Haywood “the definition of commitment to excellence in a more holistic understanding that I believe I have never (sp.) seen from a faculty or staff member. I am massively grateful for his continued support, care and advocacy for us as students.”

For Haywood, 39, being a Black male in the medical field and coming from a humble background drives him to give back, advocate for students and give them a voice when they most need it. 

He said he continues to be inspired by other Black leaders and role models. He recalled the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama: “What’s the point of being in a leadership role, if you’re just going to say, ‘I can’t [do] anything, my hands are tied.’ You’re just taking up a seat at the table.”

He added, “So I see myself as the voice for the voiceless, because I’ve been given this privilege. But then also recognizing that people have done that for me in the past.” 

Haywood grew up in Los Angeles with six siblings. His mother had a sixth grade education, and he lost his father to gun violence when he was a child.

But his mother was keen on his education and he was guided by Black mentors along the way. Haywood earned a Ph.D. and at only 31, he became one of the youngest deans to be recruited at IU’s medical school.

Haywood was earlier awarded the Trustee Teaching award for outstanding teaching in the previous year, which is based on factors such as student evaluations, colleague observations and innovations in teaching. He was also awarded the Exemplar of Professionalism award, which recognizes positive role models who uphold the school’s Honor Code in their daily interactions.

This story was reported as part of a partnership between WFYI, Side Effects Public Media and the Indianapolis Recorder. Contact Farah Yousry at fyousry@wfyi.org or 857-285-0449. Follow her on Twitter @Farah_Yoursrym.

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