The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell hosted its third annual Diversity Night on Nov. 15, 2018, entitled, “Opening Many Doors: Diversity is Key.” The event was coordinated by multiple medical student organizations to celebrate, share and promote understanding of various cultures, creeds, customs, and orientations.
Diversity Night began with the smells and tastes of varied and distinct cultural cuisine. The students and faculty involved were given a station, each offering a food specific to their ethnic, social or religious background. Stations included India/Pakistan, Israel, West Africa, Jamaica, Wales, Mexico, Taiwan, and many more. As participants dined and discovered new delicacies, they understood that Diversity Night was meant to be not only a celebration of different cultures but also of unity in our differences.
“I think this is a really important thing,” remarked medical student Grace Wu, who represented the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. “It’s important to be exposed to different cultures, different people, and get a unique viewpoint from one another.”
As participants finished cleaning their culturally diverse plates, the new associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the Zucker School of Medicine, Robert Roswell, MD, opened the discussion with a speech on the benefits of having a diverse healthcare community and healthcare experience. Dr. Roswell was followed by a panel discussion on religion. The panel comprised of students of various faiths, including Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism, delved into the importance of their religion in healthcare and how it will factor into their future as a provider. The night closed with dance performances and reflections on diversity from members of the audience.
“I wanted a way to showcase what we have in common as well as what makes us unique and different beyond the traditional definitions of diversity. If we can become more curious about those differences, if we can celebrate them together, then we can learn to trust and appreciate one another,” stated Dr. Catherine Bangeranye, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion at the Zucker School of Medicine. “If we can walk away knowing a little bit more about each other, then we as people are the better for it.”