From the Desk of Diversity

Northwestern's Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

April 2014


  • Spring Break Activities for FREE
  • National Donate Life Month
  • Communication Matters
  • Thank You!!
  • Get Involved
  • Apply for a Scholarship
  • Learning & Training Opportunities

Spring Break Activities for FREE

Spring break is just around the corner, and many of us will be looking to recharge ourselves for the summer term. We have collected a list of no-cost activities that reflect diversity in our greater community. Invite a friend to join you, and consider sharing a brief synopsis of your experience with us.

We look forward to seeing you all in May.

National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month raising awareness about organ and tissue donation in the US. This topic is important to those of us in healthcare fields, since our patients or clients might raise questions with us about organ and tissue donation, and we'd like to be prepared to talk with them. Donation is also important for us as individuals, since it's the last gift we can give. Donation advocates advise: if you register to donate, talk to your family about your decision. Knowing your wishes ahead of time can make the process easier on your family.

Key facts on the need for donation:

  • Currently, nearly 122,000 people are waiting for organ transplants nationally. There are 3,500 on the list in Minnesota.
  • Every day, 18 people die while waiting for an organ.
  • Additionally, over 1 million people need tissue transplants.

Key facts about donation itself:
  • Up to eight organs can be donated - lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, small intestine, heart.
  • Many tissues can be donated - including eyes, skin, bone, veins, heart valves, and connective tissues.
  • Donations from one person can help up to 60 other people.
  • Donation costs nothing for the donor or the donor's family.
  • You can donate organs or tissues and still have an open casket funeral or viewing.
  • You can donate organs or tissues and still donate your body for medical research or education (anatomical bequest).
  • No one is too young or old or sick to be considered for donation. Medical teams make the determination of donor qualification at the time of death.
  • In MN, you can register to be a donor by checking the donor registration box on your driver's license application or by visiting to register online.

The need for organ donation disproportionately affects ethnic/racial minority populations including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos. Some of the diseases and conditions that can lead to a need for transplantation, such as diabetes or end-stage renal disease, are more prevalent in these groups. Donation is most often successful when a donor is from the same ethnic/racial group, since matching blood types and tissue markers are most common within ethnic groups. While donation is typically proportional across ethnic/racial groups, the need is higher among non-white populations. Increasing organ donation by non-whites may increase access to transplantation for more people in need.

Submitted by Monica Howell,

Communication Matters

Healthcare providers in all aspects of care delivery have a responsibility to use inclusive and culturally relevant language that allows the greatest degree of dignity for the patient experience. Providers can exercise the option to increase their cultural competency through education and outreach to underserved communities. When providers take the time to learn basic communication skills in additional languages or the difference between alienating language and safe language, barriers to care delivery begin to be eliminated. The ability to offer direct access to a more diverse American population will offer providers an opportunity to increase multicultural referrals and improve the quality of life for entire families and their communities.

More than 20% of the American population speak a language other than English at home. Spanish is the most frequently spoken non-English language in the United States. Northwestern Health Sciences University has a course offering, Spanish for Health Professionals, that is designed to prepare practitioners for compassionate care models that offer linguistic equity for Spanish speakers within our clinics and practices.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

How Effective Healthcare Communication Contributes to Health Equity

Thank You!!

We appreciate your support for our Diversity Volunteer Party. We had a grand turnout, and your continued efforts at increasing the university community's involvement with the promotion of diversity and inclusion is invaluable.

We asked you to post what you thought diversity meant to you on a bulletin board. Check out the gorgeous Wordle graphic we made from it (see below). Notice what words stand out, terms like understanding, celebrating, different, gender, like, love, perspectives, people, space, supportive, name, and individuality. It sounds like everyone just wants to be respected and cared for as they are with no boundaries. That is the way it is at Northwestern and that is the way it should be everywhere. Our community really appreciates the beauty in our diversity. Thank you for creating it with us.

We would like to thank the following organizations for coming to NWHSU and participating:

These organizations are always looking for volunteers. Please reach out to them or we can help you get in contact with a volunteer coordinator to get you started.

We would also like to thank you for your kind food and monetary donations to our food drive. We will be donating the items to Loaves and Fishes at 9801 Penn Ave S, Bloomington, MN. We will always be collecting food and monetary donations - if you have something, you are welcome to bring it by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

Thank you, Northwestern, for making our academic experience great!

Submitted by Dr. Alejandra Estrin Dashe,

Get Involved with Diversity & Inclusion

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