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Pride Month Recognition and CNHP's DEI Initiatives

June 3, 2022

Two hands forming a heart wearing a rainbow wrist band in front of a Gay Pride flag.“The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them ‘A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.’” – Brenda Howard

The first Pride March in June 1970 commemorated the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City—six days of clashes between LGBTQIA+ protesters and law enforcement. Each June, Pride Month is a celebration of the impact that the community has had on history locally, nationally and internationally.

Of interest to health care students and professionals, May 12, 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. John Fryer’s groundbreaking speech to the American Psychiatric Association urging the group to remove homosexuality from its list of mental health disorders. His bravery is one example of multiple such efforts, which resulted in removal of the diagnosis of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973.

Today, BRAVE, a CNHP LGBTQIA+ community group, co-created by professional staff, students, and faculty, provides support, shares resources and plans social activities of interest to participants. While we applaud and celebrate achievements such as the recent appointment of Karine Jean-Pierre, the first Black and openly gay White House Press Secretary, there are movements across the country to silence and vilify LGBTQIA+ individuals, including children who are questioning their gender and/or sexual identity.

Despite such hateful actions, people flock to Pride celebrations, like the PHL Pride March and Festival in Philadelphia on June 5. Support and advocacy groups continue to spring up all around the world. At CNHP, BRAVE along with Creative Arts Therapists (CATs) of Color, CATs Unlearning Whiteness and a newly forming neurodiversity group, are reaching out to the broader college community. L Polarine, 2022, MA Art Therapy and Counseling, will be presenting Raising Voices: Exploring Collective and Individual Experiences of Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults through Community Artmaking and Brandi Brubaker Simmons, 2022, MA Music Therapy and Counseling, is presenting Supporting Transgender Individuals through Healthcare Experiences using Music Therapy: A Focus on Identity and Well-being at the 2022 CAT Colloquia.

PAMA, Physicians Assistants Minority Alliance, was developed by Lena Ward, MS `19, PA-C, a clinical instructor in the Physician Assistant Department, to improve academic success and provide support for minority PA students. The college has dedicated resources to its diversity, equity and inclusion initiative which includes an assistant dean and a Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Members of the DEI Board, who are selected annually for a two-year term, design individual projects meant to educate, influence and create awareness with college and University constituents. They support and express pride in all CNHP groups aiming to work for social justice and health equity.

Senator Tammy Baldwin said “there will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” This is what CNHP is doing through the work of the board and the office of the assistant dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and in our classrooms and the care facilities where we practice. The DEI website offers resources and information about the board and the application process. CNHP faculty, professional staff and students are encouraged to apply.

Written by Flossie Ierardi, MM, MT-BC, LPC, associate clinical professor emerita, Creative Arts Therapies and member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.