From the Desk of Diversity

Northwestern's Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

Honoring Women Edition

  • International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • Words to Live By
  • Did You Know?
  • University Community Member Spotlight
  • A Female Doctor: Personal Perspective
  • Links to Explore
  • Days to Remember
  • Topics in Diversity
  • Community Engagement
  • Upcoming Events
  • Get Involved
  • Learning & Training Opportunities
  • Apply for a Scholarship

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Violence against girls and women is not some fated requisite experience to be projected upon them at the hands of men and boys. Women bear the burden of child rearing, food insecurity, water scarcity, educational disparity, and HIV/AIDS complications the entire world over. When violence is done against them, it dishonors the most basic facts that all of humanity has a mother, and that we are responsible for asking out among ourselves how we might avoid violence against women. Violence in any form is reprehensible. It happens to women in their families, in communities, in varied cultures and nations, and among the women we know.

The United Nations estimates that up to 70% of women in the world will be subjected to acts of violence. 70%.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is an annual recognition of our mothers, sisters, and friends in the world that live through violence.

The Northwestern Health Sciences University Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be holding an Orange Our Neighborhood Event on November 25 at 12:15 in the foyer. We will light an orange candle, and we invite you to consider joining us for a 5 minute silent observation for the women of the world whose lives have been impacted or lost through violence. Please wear orange to stand in solidarity with us while we stand in solidarity with them.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,
UNiTE Campaign: 16 Days to Orange Your World 2013

Words to Live By

“Our men think earning money and ordering around others is where power lies. They don't think power is in the hands of the woman who takes care of everyone all day long, and gives birth to their children.”
---Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2014

Did You Know?

The American workforce employs 36.2% of all women workers in the healthcare and education industries. Women then go on to make up 80% of the healthcare workforce.

Northwestern Health Sciences University has a large number of estimable faculty members that happen to be women. Thank you for your contribution to our education, and thank you for lighting the way for other women to navigate the systems of healthcare education.

University Community Member Spotlight

Sarah Zwagerman, BS is a community member for everyone to know! She currently serves as the Clinic Administrator for the Wolfe-Harris Center for Excellence, Research & Rehab Clinic. She has worked with the university for more than 13 years.

Her service to the university community is spectacular, and her service in the greater community is entirely reflective of a set of values that requires her to be of service.

In 2007, she was instrumental in the promotion and success of a 5k benefit for the family of her best friend and valued colleague, Patrick Holmes, an exercise therapist in the Wolfe-Harris Center at NWHSU. She serves on the NWHSU Annual Service and Appreciation Day Committee.

Sarah is very active in her faith community and is the coordinator at her church for GEMS, an international girls' empowerment and development ministry. She is a 2014 volunteer for We Day, a event created by Free the Children as a celebration of a year long educational journey for the empowerment of children.

We commend Sarah on her commitment to the development and empowerment of girls and their potential to grow into empowered women. Thank you for your service to our university and to the developing girls of our world.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

A Female Doctor: Personal Perspective

Sweetheart. Kiddo. You’re such a love. If I’m giving my colleagues the benefit of the doubt, these phrases used to address me in the context of conversations in professional settings were meant to be complements, endearments, or attempts to relate at a personal level. I’d like to believe that if those who said these things knew how uncomfortable and disrespected they made me feel, they would be profusely apologetic. Further, I don’t think the offensiveness of these comments even registers with many individuals. Therein lies the problem.

Microagression occurs when a person does or says something, often accidentally and without malintent, that belittles or alienates another. As a social theory, microaggressions are made by a member of the dominant culture to someone in a socially marginalized or underrepresented group. As a female still in the first half of my career, I typically hear microaggressions that reference my age or gender. Since learning about this concept, I’ve begun to see examples of microaggression more often than I would have believed likely.

We all have a role in addressing microaggressions. We must be mindful of the familiarity and underlying intention of the salutations we use. Individuals on the receiving end need to show bravery in the moment to call attention to the offending remark and use it as an opportunity to raise awareness. Finally, we all bear responsibility for creating a safe and supportive environment where those teachable moments are both encouraged and well received.

Submitted by Michele Maiers, DC, MPH,

Days to Remember

Topics in Diversity: Feminism from a Male Perspective

It can be challenging to speak up or speak out. I equate activism with action. It cannot be enough for me to say that I stand for women and their rights. There must be some actionable outcome that says to those around me that I do not condone the experience of women in the world at the hands of men. It cannot be enough for me to say this to women. This must be said to the men around me.

In my time at NWHSU, I have seen men of influence diminish the women before them with careless words that insult the integrity of the work they have done and minimize their qualifications in the process. My mentors are mostly women, the people I am most inspired by tend to be women, and I am extraordinarily compelled to support them and many more.

We can be accountable to our brothers by claiming that we cannot pardon these types of indiscretions. We would speak out against racism, but mostly remain silent about sexism. As if that is a real way for men to be.

I simply do not have the capacity to understand the challenges of navigating the world as a woman. I do, however, have the full capacity to understand that I do not want women to live in fear, under threat of harm, or in circumstances where their contributions to the machinations of the world are not adequately recognized. I am absolutely unsure of the tenets of feminism, but I clearly draw a line for myself that says that if the circumstances I am observing might make a woman uncomfortable because she is a woman, then I have a responsibility to do something about it.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

Community Engagement

12th Annual YWCA It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race

On Nov 5 a group of students, staff, and faculty attended the 12th Annual YWCA It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race luncheon, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event had record attendance and was sponsored by several Twin Cities organizations. Northwestern was part of this incredible event.

The purpose of the luncheon was to bring members of the Twin Cities community together to talk about race. The keynote speaker was the former Mayor of Minneapolis, RT Rybak. Rybak challenged us to talk about race and racism, and own the responsibility for changing our future.

After Rybak spoke, trained racial justice facilitators guided each table to discuss race and racism. We shared what we learned from Rybak's inspirational message and linked his ideas to the student experience at Northwestern. We also talked about why it is important that we continue to attract and enroll a diverse student body engaged in health care and social justice issues.

At Northwestern, we continue these discussions because our community shapes the future of health care and education.

The YWCA has kindly featured Northwestern as a Racial Justice Champion. They have offered to host a follow-up facilitated dialogue for ten people at our university. Please contact Alejandra Dashe to join that discussion.

We can do this together.

Submitted by Alejandra Dashe,

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Upcoming Events

Safe at Northwestern Training: Ally I

Thursday, Nov. 13th, 11am-2pm


Ally I

Ally I training provides you with the terms, tools, and strategies to be an ally to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, and ally or asexual, or anything else. Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 11am-2pm in L1

Provided by the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Safe at Northwestern: LGBTQIA Clinical Cultural Competency

Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 12-1pm


LGBTQIA Clinical Competency Training

LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, and ally or asexual.

Join us to learn about vocabulary, healthcare initiatives, and tools to provide the best care for our LGBTQIA patients. Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at noon in L2

Provided by Rainbow Health Initiative

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Orange Our Neighborhood

Tuesday, Nov. 25th, 12:15-12:30pm


Join us in lighting an orange candle to stand vigil with women of the world that have been impacted by violence. Please wear orange.

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