From the Desk of Diversity

Northwestern's Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

2015 Year's End Issue

  • Compassion in Communication
  • Words to Live By
  • Did You Know?
  • Nominate a Dignity & Respect Champion
  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)
  • Links to Explore
  • Days to Remember
  • Topics in Diversity: Disclosure
  • Community Engagement
  • Past Events
  • Get Involved
  • Learning & Training Opportunities
  • Apply for a Scholarship

Compassion in Communication

The day before Thanksgiving I had a powerful conversation with one of my favorite partners in personal conditioning for greater kindness. Our conversation led us to topics that make some people uncomfortable. We talked about the Minneapolis Police Department and Black Lives Matter. We chatted about refugees from Syria. We agreed that we likely do not agree on all things. We also agreed that speaking to each other with kindness allows us to have differing points of view without making ourselves a tremendous variable in unsolvable problems of harsh disagreement. We respect each other more than that.

Recently, I have seen unkindness between friends and family. Current events are polarizing. There's the matter of Donald Trump and also the Paris attacks. There's that tiresome Clinton email talk. Our lives are overly exposed to inflammatory rhetoric from people that we care about. Sometimes we aren't even sure how to insert our opinions without being subjected to confrontation where name-calling and finger-pointing are the way we disagree about these things. The worst of it is perhaps the public nature of social media arguments where we have the courage to develop our unkindness to higher degrees. I had no idea I knew so many racists, Islamophobes, and people who suddenly believe that we should be caring for veterans instead of worrying about refugees.

I am not in the business of arguing with unkindness or ignorance. You see, I believe wholeheartedly in "Love is the way I walk in gratitude." This quote comes from A Course in Miracles, a study in forgiveness and atonement that has changed my life. Love is kindness in my life, and I refuse to bear witness to people I care about showing themselves to be unloving and unkind. We are all one people, and we deserve better than mistreating each other.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

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Words to Live By

“The smallest indivisible human unit is two people, not one; one is a fiction. From such nets of souls societies, the social world, human life springs.”

-Tony Kushner, Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness

Did You Know?

Top Ten Facts about Islam:

  1. There are five pillars of Islam, Shahadah- Believing in oneness of Allah (God) or submitting to Allah, who has no partners and is supreme and pure, this is the first pillar of Islam followed by Zakat (Charity), Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan), Salat (praying five times a day), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
  2. Jesus (p.b.u.h) and Moses (p.b.u.h) are considered holy prophets and Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa) did not die. Each person will be held accountable for her/his sins, surely Allah is the One to forgive only if you seek repentance. The prophetic stories in the Quran are similar to those in the original Bible and Torah.
  3. Fasting during Ramadan is important to be a good Muslim; now there is scientific evidence to show fasting promotes mitochondrial regeneration that is the focus of attention of latest research.
  4. Islam believes in natural care. There are numerous references in the Quran on the extensive use of olives and fruits like pomegranate and grapes. All these have been shown by modern science to be powerful antioxidants and anticancer agents.
  5. One of the most intriguing references in the Quran is the embryological development of human body "(We) then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be God, the Best of Creators!" (The Qur'an, 23:14)
  6. The words “Allah-u-Akbar” merely mean “God is Great"
  7. The majority of Muslims denounce organizations like Al Qaida and ISIS and the 9/11 tragedy, killings of innocent children in Peshawar, 7/7 tragedy in London are all dastardly acts of terrorism.
  8. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) is the last prophet, a man who did not know how to read and write which strengthens the fact that Quran is the book of Allah.
  9. According to a recent report on CNN, Islam is the fastest growing religion.
  10. Islam teaches to respect other religions and to believe that all humans must be equally treated.

Submitted by Dr. Kashif Ahmad,

Nominate a Dignity & Respect Champion

The Dignity & Respect Champions program recognizes those students, faculty, staff and administrators who embody the mission and vision of diversity at Northwestern. Our champions are fully committed to diversity, inclusion, equity and justice throughout our University and the healthcare community. Champions promote a safe, inclusive and supportive environment of diversity at Northwestern, act as active community members in promoting social justice, and take a strong interest in making health care accessible for everyone.

Please take five minutes to nominate your Champion. Thank you.

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)

We honor folks that get caught doing good deeds!

If you see something, say something.

Please email Michelle Speranza,, to nominate someone and make their day.

Links to Explore

World AIDS Day is December 1. Read more about AIDS here:

Days to Remember

Here are the upcoming cultural holidays that some of our faculty, staff, and students observe over Winter 2016 trimester, which spans January 2016 through April 2016.


  • January 1: New Year’s Day (United States)
  • January 6: Epiphany, Día de los Reyes (Western Christianity, Catholicism)
  • January 7: Orthodox Christimas (Orthodox Christian)
  • January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (United States)
  • January 24-27: Mahanyana New Year (Buddhist)

  • February 2: Imbloc (Pagan)
  • February 8: Parinirvana (Buddhism, or Feb 15); Lunar New Year (Pan Asian)
  • February 12: Vasant Panchami (Hindu), Darwin Day (United States)
  • February 14: Valentine’s Day (United States)
  • February 15: Parinirvana (Buddhism, or Feb 8); President’s Day (United States)

  • March 1: Feast of Loftiness, followed by a 20 day fast (Bahá’í)
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day (Christian)
  • March 23-24: Purim (Jewish), Holla Mohalla (Sihk), Holy Thursday (Western Christian)
  • March 25: Good Friday (Christian)
  • March 27: Easter/Pascha (Western Christian, Orthodox Christian)

  • April 15: Day of Silence (LGBTQIA+)
  • April 22: Earth Day (United States)
  • April 22-23: Theravada New Year (Buddhist)
  • April 23-30: Passover (Jewish)

All dates were gathered from the Anti-Defamation League's Calendar.

Check out the Office of Diversity & Inclusion's Cultural Calendar for more information on upcoming holidays or holidays not published here.

Happy grading season, holidays, and graduation.

Submitted by Alejandra Dashe,

Topics in Diversity: Disclosure

Every time I go to a healthcare provider, it is a struggle. I never know what questions they will ask or how they will ask those questions.

In my responses, I’m never sure if I should tell the the truth because of fear of judgment.

All of this anxiety from visiting a healthcare provider arises from my sexuality. If I say I’m gay, the look of shock on the provider’s face is not comforting. Because of this, I think it is important that an education is inclusive about gender and sexuality. Furthermore, a patient having to teach their healthcare professional about their health can be tedious for the patient. It may make the patient feel the provider is incompetent and prevent them from wanting to see that provider again. For instance, 50% of trans* identified patients reported they needed to teach their healthcare provider about care for trans* individuals.

This may cause a patient to not receive the care they deserve and need. In order to be competent and compassionate healthcare providers, we must be comfortable asking and answering questions of our gender and sexual minority patients. This is training that will require providers to take responsibility for their competence.

Submitted by Michael Romanski, GSA President,

Community Engagement

Northwestern's Women's Leadership group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 12-1 in the Holtz Boardroom. Please feel welcome to bring your lunch and be ready to discuss. RSVP to Alejandra Dashe ( or Michele Maiers (

Interested in forming a leadership group? The Office of Diversity & Inclusion is happy to assist. Start organizing your group today - contact Alejandra Dashe ( for assistance.

Are you engaged in health related research and a minority in your field? Visit PRIDE to attend summer week long research seminars to boost your presence and skill set in your field. All are encouraged to apply for cohorts forming in Summer 2016.

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion is looking for health care shadowing opportunities with professionals who work with populations that have documented health care disparities.

For all outreach events, please share your interest and opportunities with

Submitted by Alejandra Dashe,

Past Events

Orange the World

This year we hosted our second orange campaign to raise awareness about the United Nations campaign, Say NO- UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls. We raised more than $100 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Our vigil began with a moment of silence to honor women and children who have been affected by violence. Attendees took the opportunity to share their perspectives on violence.

Thank you to the attendees and to those whose support made our donation possible.

This event was organized by Beau Foshee and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
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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, Beau Foshee, or Celia Peters.
The background image is a stock photo from
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Office of Diversity & Inclusion

The purpose of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to create a richer understanding of humanity, education and health care. Our responsibility to Northwestern is to ensure that we have an inclusive, diverse and safe environment for all members of the University community and communities we serve.

Senior Editor

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


Celia Peters
Student, College of Chiropractic
Diversity Scholar

Assistant Editor

Beau Foshee
Student, College of Chiropractic
Diversity Leadership Scholar
Student Senate President