Reflecting on DUCOM Diversity Week 2018
December 18, 2018
After months of planning, DUCOM's Diversity Week 2018 went off without a hitch! I can't even begin to express how proud I am of the students and all of the thought and effort they put into this week-long celebration. From panels on refugee health, first-generation med students and doctors, and culture and medicine, to a milk and cookie movie screening of MILK, to our signature event, "Around the World," which allowed everyone to showcase how diverse our DUCOM world really is, there wasn't a shortage of activity. Here are some highlights from the week.
1. All about inclusion
All students and student groups were invited to join in on the planning. It was not a surprise to see many of the usual suspects at the table: Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), South Asian Medical Student Association (SAMSA), and Filipino American Medical Student Association (FAMSA), among others, were there. But they were also joined by other groups who may not always be thought of when diversity is brought up. For example, our Military Medicine group jumped at the chance to join in on the planning, while other groups declined, and that's okay—that's what inclusion is about after all!
2. Getting everyone involved
There is no doubt that our DUCOM family of students, faculty and staff is a busy one. Everyone is running a thousand miles a minute at all times, so it can be difficult to open up an hour or two to attend a panel or participate in an event. However, we can always find 5 minutes to engage. This year we invited everyone to take a few minutes of their day to complete the statement, "Diversity is…" and sign our Diversity Canvas. Students, faculty and staff alike came by to "leave their mark," either with a handprint, signature, phrase or all of the above. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a little arts and crafts?
3. Our figurative interpretation of "world"
Seeing our signature "Around the World" event come to fruition was definitely the highlight of my week! I loved how the students decided to take a figurative approach to the term "world" and translate it into experiences that really reflected the diversity of experiences at DUCOM. Visitors even got passports and cultural stamps for participating.
There were so many things to experience at this event, it is hard to pick a favorite. I learned a lot from the refugee and Latin American map quiz, got my feet stuck between the bamboo poles of FAMSA's tinikling dance, proudly wrote my pronouns at the LGBTQ+ experience, forced down some "tasty" beef stew MREs, and clumsily folded my origami paper crane. But if I had to choose, I'd say my favorite experience was watching our students – specifically our male students – make their way around the world in heels. Their willingness to be vulnerable touched me to the core.
Our diversity week celebration was definitely a community effort with students, faculty, staff and departments working together. It gave our DUCOM family the opportunity to connect with each other, cultivate relationships and celebrate our unique identities. As we wind down the year and enter winter break, I can't help but wonder what the students will have in store for the 2019 celebration!
Issa DiSciullo, MS
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
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