From the Desk of Diversity

Northwestern's Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

Welcome Back to School Edition

  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Health Through a Servant's Heart
  • Did You Know?
  • A Letter to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • National Suicide Prevention Month
  • Links to Explore
  • World Food and Hunger Awareness Week
  • Topics in Diversity: Exercising Privilege
  • Upcoming Events
  • Get Involved
  • Learning & Training Opportunities
  • Apply for a Scholarship

Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 of each year marks the beginning of a 31-day commemoration to honor Hispanic American citizens. The term Hispanic refers to anyone with an origin in the Spanish culture. This includes Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Spaniards, and Caribbean, Central and South Americans. September 15 is the first day because it is the day during which five of the seven Central American countries celebrate their independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The final day is October 15 to include the Independence Day of three other countries: Mexico on September 16, Chile on September 18, and Belize on September 21. Columbus Day (known as “Día de la Raza” by Hispanics) is always celebrated on the second Monday in October so this date is included in the month-long observance as well.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrating its 26th year of existence, although it began as Hispanic Heritage Week 20 years before its expansion. During this month, we recognize and honor the hard work, sacrifices, and contributions made by our Hispanic American neighbors and their ancestors. It is our chance to embrace the stories, heritage, culture, and traditions that they have added to our nation.

To help the Northwestern community celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Club Mariposa will be hosting a Salsa Fiesta on Wednesday, September 24. Anyone is asked to submit their homemade salsa to be sampled, and the two salsas receiving the most votes will receive gift cards to Chipotle! Club Mariposa will supply tortilla chips and empanadas (bread stuffed with meat or cheese). The cost to be a sampler will be $5. Sign up by Friday, September 19 to be considered in the contest.

Submitted by Carolyn Filla,

Health Through a Servant's Heart

La Clínica de la Mariposa, or “The Butterfly Clinic,” is a three-week service learning health care experience offered to Northwestern's T8-T9 acupuncture, T9-T10 chiropractic, T2-T4 massage students, and volunteer health care providers from those disciplines. The clinic is managed by the not-for-profit Santé, Inc. and partners with Northwestern to staff La Clínica with interns and volunteers.

Here is an excerpt from the Santé, Inc. webpage about a patient:

“José's smile lights up the room as he walks through the door for a week-long visit from volunteers at La Clínica de la Mariposa...He is happy because for many years, José was unable to walk due to a disease that affects his joints and bones. As he wheels himself in with the assistance of his walker, he is welcomed by an integrated healthcare team… When La Clínica de la Mariposa comes to José's community twice per year, he goes through his health history with his doctor, has a chiropractic evaluation and treatment if needed, and may even receive a relaxing massage--all on the same day! He doesn't have access to similar care anywhere in Costa Rica. Over the years he has been visited by the clinic, his walking has improved and the limiting effects of his condition have decreased.”

Over the last 13 years, La Clínica interns and volunteers have served over 7000 discrete patients. The clinic travels from community to community in Costa Rica providing free health care. Interns and volunteer providers see cases they would not usually see. The experience unique and valuable to anyone who serves and anyone who is cared for at this clinic.

Club Mariposa will be holding a La Clínica information session later on this trimester. The next trip is tentatively scheduled for May 2015. Stay tuned for more information.

To learn more about volunteering with La Clínica de la Mariposa, please visit Santé, Inc.’s webpage or contact Dr. Alejandra Estrin Dashe at

Submitted by Alejandra Dashe, Ph.D. and Sarene Bahr, D.C.,

Did You Know?

The summer 2014 Dignity and Respect Champion has been named! Michael Romanski is a chiropractic student whose dedication to equity work during undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison is commendable. In addition to this honor, he has assumed the presidency of the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Club at Northwestern. Congratulations and thank you!

Nominations for the Fall 2014 Dignity & Respect Champion are welcomed. Please nominate your Champion here by November 15, 2014.

The university is taking part in a campaign to pledge our efforts at inclusion through the Dignity and Respect Campaign. The campaign efforts at Northwestern have seen 451 total pledges, and the global campaign has reached more than 220,000 individuals that pledged their commitment to inclusion. Please take the time out to pledge today, if you have not already done so!

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

Letter to the NWHSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion

To My Dearest Teachers and Staff:

Last April of 2013, I went back to school after 14 years passed since I graduated from Carlson School of Management. At the moment, I felt like a first grader walking into elementary school on the first day when I returned. I felt very nervous and strange. That feeling disappeared quickly when I got to know all of you. There is a great story of me on how life brought me to the Massage Therapy Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) that I would like to share with you:

I owned a Chinese restaurant in 2006-2009 in Inver Grove Heights (IGH). One day I did some heavy cleaning. My right arm suddenly "dropped". I could hardly raise my arm on its own. I was also the main chef. Cooking with one arm was not fun at all during the busy evenings. I suffered from that for a week or two. I visited my family doctor, but the issue still seemed to be there. Luckily, one of my customers was Dr. Timothy W. Guthman, a chiropractor in IGH. I brought my issue up to him without any intention of seeking treatment. He smiled and replied "No worries. I will take good care of you. Come to my clinic whenever you can. Ok?" After about 3-4 visits where I received chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy, I regained function of my arm at full strength. I was so happy. Since then it changed my mind. "Hahhh, chiropractic and massage are something real. Great!!!

In the summer of 2012, I was invited to join a group of friends who were both NWHSU graduates (one in acupuncture, the other in massage) in opening a medical clinic in the Twin Cities. The reason they invited me is because I have knowledge and hands-on experience in the business marketplace. I could fully understand the functions of the business, but when talking about marketing strategies in the medical field, I was clueless. The first thing that came to my mind was to check out the NWHSU programs where my friends studied to see what we can offer to the community. The more I learned about our great school and its programs, the more I wanted to be a student rather than just a business person. Actually, during this time, I was thinking about returning to school for an MBA. So, while checking out the programs for the purpose of enhancing my skills to manage the business establishment, it triggered my excitement to go back to school more than ever.

On one early morning (around 3:30 am) in the fall of 2013, my mother shouted out for help. I ran out of my bedroom. The first thing I saw was my father was lying on the floor bleeding. I ran to him and sat him up, and then I tried to get my father up wakened from his unconsciousness. Meanwhile, I turned around and asked my wife to call 9-1-1. While my wife was on the phone, my father gradually opened his eyes and asked my mother and me "What is going on?", "Why am I sitting on the floor?", "Why is the blood on floor?", etc. A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived. EMTs decided to transport him to the ER for further diagnosis and treatment. I was following right behind the ambulance and thinking of that clueless moment when I confronted the medical emergency, especially as it happened right in my own residence. On that same afternoon, on the way home from the hospital after visiting with my father, I told my wife what I was thinking. My wife asked "Have you ever considered going to medical school?" I was surprised and replied "Medical school? What are you talking about?" The conversation ended. Then, that evening, NWHSU came to mind. I was thinking, thinking, thinking,... (sleepless). The next morning, I told my wife, "I'm considering Northwestern Health Sciences University."

After several months of talking with an admissions advisor and my friends then applying for the massage therapy course, I got shocking news from my wife. She talked me out of going back to school due to our unstable family income. I agreed with what my wife said, but my desire of going back to school remained very strong in me. I kept thinking of how I might be able to go back to school with a minimal impact on my family income. I decided to visit my admissions advisor, Rebecca Leonard, again. After listening to my family story, Ms. Leonard strongly recommended to me that I apply for the Incoming Diversity Scholarship offered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I did. Two weeks before school started I had an interview for the scholarship. I was so surprised when I arrived at the room and realized that this was a group interview. This was my very first experience of this type of interview. It was nerve wracking at first. But I felt very comfortable after the interview started. I reminded that myself this scholarship could be my dream and school life saver. Without getting the scholarship, I was not sure how to keep the dream alive. After the 3 ½ hour interview, I had no clue where I stood even though I was pretty sure I did fine in the interview overall. The following Monday morning, I received an email from Dr. Alejandra Dashe to inform that I was selected to be a scholarship recipient. I was so happy and speechlessly. Tears came to my eyes immediately after I read the email because I knew my dream of going back to school and later giving back to the community stayed alive and came true. They were tears of pure happiness.

Time has flown. Here I am. A NWHSU GRADUATE. The past year and a half has been the most tremendous, memorial, and somehow exhausting period of time for me. I was not sure how I could handle everything at once: a full-time day job, full-time evening school, campus activities such as Student Ambassador Club, Asian Cultural Club, volunteering at Fairview, hospital/clinic rotations, community service, family time and chores, personal hobbies like writing, singing, cooking, playing sport, etc. The bottom line is, I MADE IT. Throughout the program, I have had great relationships with my devoted teachers, excellent school staff, and many good friends. More excitingly, a few days ago I received a massage job offer at HealthPro Chiropractic Inc., in Farmington, Minnesota. My first working day is this Saturday (9/6). I am very excited!!!

Today, I would like to send A BIG THANK YOU to each and every one of you for offering your hand to me and helping me reach my dream of a new and exciting world full of life!!!

Kindest thanks,

John H. Hoang

(reprinted with permission)

World Food and Hunger Awareness Week

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion would like to invite faculty and students to come out and participate in a World Food and Hunger Awareness Week happening October 6th to October 10th. Many exciting events will be taking place during this week, one of which will be a multicultural potluck! We are looking for faculty and students to get involved and share a meal together. If you have a special family recipe or a health boosting snack that you would like to make and share samples of with the rest of the school please email Michelle Speranza at or sign up on the Volunteer and Club Board by Wednesday, September 24th.

Topics in Diversity: Exercising Privilege

The recent events surrounding the death of the unarmed, African-American teenager, Michael Brown and subsequent tensions between the community and law enforcement agencies have managed to bring racial inequity to the forefront of white, American consciousness again. Unfortunately, this awareness becomes heightened at the expense of another life.

For those of us who are white, it can be difficult to see that we have a responsibility for changing the social environment that permits injustices such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, the systemic abuse of a biased judicial system that incarcerates people of color with more significant sentencing (whose own Federal Bureau of Prisons offers "ethnicity" statistics that differentiate between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic without acknowledging the full extent of white and non-white comparisons), and the inexcusable imprisonment of a local transwoman of color, CeCe McDonald in a men's prison.

When we passively permit systemic injustices, we actually endorse them. That thought is troubling. When we know there is an injustice, whether singular, local, or global, we must hold one another accountable for honoring the humanity of the affected. We must speak out for them if they are not able. I am still growing into the best way to leverage my white privilege (also my queer privilege and male privilege and American privilege....) to best elevate those around me to the same degree of opportunity that I am given.

Conversations about white privilege can be uncomfortable especially if we grew up poor and white like me. Reading work such as White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh has allowed me to explore my privilege without feeling alienated or pressured into white guilt.

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group" - Peggy McIntosh

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy "A Trip to the Grocery Store"

Upcoming Events

Club Mariposa's Salsa Fiesta

Wednesday, Sep. 24th, 12pm

Sign up by Friday, September 19!

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage month Club Mariposa will be hosting a SALSA fiesta on Wednesday, 24-September.

Participants will face off to see who can make the best salsa for a chance to win a Chipotle gift certificate. If you would like to enter your homemade salsa into this contest please contact Carolyn Filla at or sign up on the Club and Organization board in the hallway.

All submissions must be in by Friday, September 19th.

National Suicide Prevention Month Presentation

Tuesday, Sep. 30th, 12pm

NWHSU Auditorium

We All Have a Role in Suicide Prevention: Suicide Prevention and Education

Presenter: Dr. Daniel Reidenberg
Executive Director - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education,
Managing Director - National Council for Suicide Prevention
US Representative - International Association for Suicide Prevention

Come learn about:

  • Risk and protective factors in suicide prevention
  • Research-based warning signs of suicide
  • How to respond if you think someone is at risk of suicide

Please bring your lunch and join us.

Presentation sponsored jointly by the Office of Counseling Services and the Human Resources Department.

World Food and Hunger Awareness Week

Monday, Oct. 6th, 12am to Friday, Oct. 10th, 11:45pm

Save the Dates!

Look for fantastic events that include:

Food Drive
Service and Volunteer Opportunities
Cultural Potluck

Get Involved with Diversity & Inclusion

  • Take training! See "Learning and Training Opportunities" below. Most trainings are free or low cost and can get you CEUs.
  • Take the Dignity & Respect pledge.
  • Join one of our cultural clubs.
  • Want to write for From the Desk of Diversity? Book Club book suggestion? Engaging diversity activity idea? Contact Dr. Dashe or Beau Foshee.
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Senior Editor

Alejandra Estrin Dashe, PhD
Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Assistant Professor, College of Undergraduate Health Sciences


Beau Foshee
Student, College of Chiropractic