Written by Zachary Hanby
More than 200 attendees from all walks of life participated in the second annual “A Taste of Diversity Night” held on November 15, 2017, at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. The event was coordinated by multiple medical student organizations to celebrate, share and promote understanding of various cultures, creeds, customs and orientations.
A melting pot of people and experiences, the event featured readings, music and dance performances, as well as an array of homemade foods and delicacies from China, Italy, Jamaica, Ireland, Mexico, India and other cultures. It also included a panel discussion followed by a question-answer session about religious practices and beliefs, including Christianity, Catholism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Atheism. The need for multicultural, all-inclusive gatherings like Diversity Night is incredibly vital for members of the medical community as the pool of patients and professionals continues to grow, change and diversify in our society.
“The event is almost like speed dating for different cultures and religions,”remarked Catherine Bangeranye, PhD, assistant dean of Diversity and Inclusion for Student Programming. “You walk away knowing a few things about these ways of life…which allows [you] to break the ice with a patient or colleague and spark conversation—it helps to create trust and connection.”
Among the evening’s participants were 20 young students from the Medical Science Youth Program at the ABGS Middle School in Hempstead, New York. The pilot initiative was designed for medical students to partner with middle school to enhance academic success and foster an interest in a career in medicine. Leadership, education and support for the program at the medical school was provided by Janice John, DO, MS, MPH, assistant professor of science education and pediatrics, and Gina Granger, MSEd, program manager for the Medical Science Youth Programs.
“Inclusion promotes opportunity, collaboration and confidence,” said Ms. Granger. “Outreach programs and events like Diversity Night can help to move all of us in the right direction.”