From the Desk of Diversity

Northwestern's Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

Ramadan and World Hepatitis Day

  • Ramadan
  • Did You Know?
  • World Hepatitis Day
  • Links to Explore
  • Topics in Diversity: Islamophobia
  • How's NWHSU's Culture?
  • Upcoming Events
  • Get Involved
  • Learning & Training Opportunities
  • Apply for a Scholarship


Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims in all parts of the world. It is the month that the Qur'an was presented to Muhammed (peace be upon him or PBUH, which is commonly said or written after a prophet's name), the last prophet sent by Allah, by the angel Gabriel, whose common impact on Muslims, Jews, and Christians is easily evidenced. He (PBUH) had a prayer practice that included praying every day for several hours. In the year 610 CE, Muhammed (PBUH) was instructed by Gabriel to begin recitation of verses that became the text of the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an.

The traditions that celebrate the ninth calendar month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, include fasting, long night prayers, and secluded reflection through Qur'anic study and prayer for the last ten days of the month. Muslims may fast at other times of the year, but fasting during Ramadan is an obligation for every Muslim who is able to do so. The fast is known as the Sawm of Ramadan. The night prayers are held in mosques for around two hours nightly and are known as taraweeh prayers. The seclusion experience is i'tikaf which means to stay in one place, but during Ramadan, the place is most frequently in a mosque and is much like a religious retreat which has a primary purpose of getting closer to Allah through the connection of other Muslims and the Qur'an.

The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is known as Eid al-Fitr and is an important holiday that signifies the end of the month of fasting. The Day of Eid is a day when no Muslim should fast. The celebration might last up to three days dependent upon local culture. A common celebratory greeting is Eid MubārakI which means "Blessed Eid."

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

Did You Know?

Islam is the second largest global religion. In 2010 it was determined that roughly 1.6 billion people or 23.2% of the world population are Muslim.

Just like all other religious groups, there are varying sects of faith that differ on the most fundamental levels. It is these differences of faith that dictate politico-religious relationships and challenges in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific regions.

A brief explanation of these variances can be found in the following video:

Islam 101 - 8 - Divisions & Sects

World Hepatitis Day

July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. A day focused on global education and increasing awareness of a disease that kills over 1.5 million people world-wide each year (1).

Viral hepatitis is caused by various strains of the hepatitis virus (A, B, C, D, E) each leading initially to short term and acute infections of the liver. Hepatitis B, C, and D will often lead to long term chronic infection that may be life threatening. Individuals affected by Hepatitis B, C, or D often experience liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and / or liver failure. Viral hepatitis is one of the greatest global health threats, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that chronic hepatitis B and C affect over 500 million people worldwide (2).

Chronic Hepatitis, particularly Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) is transmitted via exposure to blood, or in the case of HBV via other bodily fluids of an infected individual.

In the United States new HBV infections have been slowly declining since 1990 due to increased public education regarding lifestyle practices and utilization of HBV vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent surveillance monitoring (2011) the national average for new infections is estimated at 18,800 per year with chronic infection rates potentially affecting 1.4 million individuals. 2 Although new HBV infections have been declining, the United States is seeing an increase in new HCV infections and chronic HCV infection cases. It is estimated that there are currently approximately 2.7-3.9 million cases of HCV in the United States with an annual increase in mortality rates (3).

As a clinician and a member of the NWHSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I am often mindful of healthcare disparities concerning global infection rates, and access to treatment. From a global perspective the prevalence of viral hepatitis infection and mortality rates in non-first world nations is particularly alarming. According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the viral hepatitis annual mortality rate is three times the rate of HIV/AIDS and nine times the rate of malaria in Asia Pacific (4, 5). Seventy four percent (74%) of the total hepatitis B population is living in the region and 20% of the hepatitis C population is found living in South East Asia alone. In many instances access to conventional care is limited leading to mismanagement of the patient’s condition.

As healthcare providers, we have the opportunity to inform our patients of lifestyle practices that may increase their risk of exposure to viral hepatitis. In addition, we have the duty to provide patient education concerning options for prevention, which may include information on HAV and HBV vaccinations for those with increased risk for exposure. For more information on viral hepatitis please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Please consider supporting global awareness and education by lending your voice and joining the World Hepatitis Alliance.

Christian M. Hanson M.Om, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac.
Chair Professional Development (CAOM)

Assistant Professor & Infection Control Officer

College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine


1. World Hepatitis Alliance. About Viral Hepatitis. 2014.

2. World Health Organization. Prevention & Control of Viral Hepatitis Infection: Framework for Global Action. 2012.

3. The Centers for Disease Control. Viral Hepatitis Surveillance and Statistics. 2014.

4. Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific. World Hepatitis Day. 2012.

5. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington. Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. 2013.

Topics in Diversity: Islamophobia

Some of us, who exist in a post-bin Laden paradigm, have come to a large degree of misunderstanding with Muslims. It is easy for our collective Western culture, including Europeans, to create unjust circumstances that are punitive to a large percentage of the world based on our opinion of a select group of people. Fundamentally, that is exactly what discrimination is about, applying generalizations unfairly. Some Americans have a negative view of Muslims and are less likely to actually be acquainted with a Muslim person than someone from any other religious group.

When we allow ourselves and others in our communities to make phobic remarks or perpetuate the marginalization of Muslims we dishonor the common thread that almost 54% of the world shares among the Religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These folks are our brothers and sisters.

From mechanized Judeo-Christian hate speech to measures that outlaw the wearing of headscarves in France and the pervasive misinformation that media portrays, it is only to be expected that Americans will continue to build resentment and mistrust toward Muslims.

The challenge is to rise above systematic disinclusion of Muslims. There are humanitarian crises all over the Muslim world that do not receive the same outrage that occurs when there are perceived violations of human rights for Christians and Jews. This cannot be acceptable.

We fail to adequately acknowledge the 3 million Muslim Nigerians, 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, or 4.5 million Palestinians whose humanitarian crises are unresolved and mounting in severity. It is our responsibility to speak up against discrimination. Always and anytime. Our failure to hold ourselves and our elected officials accountable for discrimination on a global scale is reprehensible. We must do better.

Inter-faith discussion groups serve as a fantastic way to navigate the normalization of misunderstood religions. They provide an opportunity to share our experiences and learn more about how to be kinder to each other, a most basic tenet of any religion.

Submitted by Beau Foshee,

How's NWHSU's Culture?

Understanding cultural climate is important in creating culturally competent and productive health care professionals. So, we want to know what you think of Northwestern's cultural climate.

Who: Students and Employees at Northwestern
What: Fill out the cultural climate survey. The survey will take 15-30 minutes. Everyone’s responses will be anonymously documented.
When: July 1-July 31, 2014
Where: Online via Northwestern email

Here is the link:

By filling out the survey, you help Northwestern understand more about our strengths and weaknesses and how we can grow as a school. Participation in this survey will not affect your schooling or employment and is not a requirement of your schooling or employment. Should you choose to participate, you may stop at any time without penalty.

Spread the word. Support Northwestern. Take the survey.

Upcoming Events

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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.
  • Chocolate sales. Club Mariposa is selling chocolate this week at the cafeteria. Each chocolate is $1. Proceeds go toward supporting the students who are traveling to Costa Rica for the internship La Clínica de la Mariposa.
  • Pho Bo Vien Fundraiser. Asian Culture Club is hosting a pho fundraiser on July 31 over lunch (11am-1pm). Proceeds will fund more Asian cultural events on campus.
  • Book Club. Will the Circle be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith. Book Club books will be available through the Library. Look for more in the Greenwalt Library Newsletter.
  • 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