2019 Diversity and Inclusion Conference

Dr. Betty Dennis and Dr. Mark Nepo in the opening session of the conference

On Friday, February 22, the CHHS Committee for Diversity and Inclusion hosted its biannual Diversity and Inclusion Conference. The theme for this year's conference was Health Care: The Power of a Community Who Cares. The event drew more than 120 students, faculty and community members to the college for a full day of information sessions, presentations and fellowship.

The keynote session was a conversation between Dr. Betty Dennis, chair of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Mark Nepo, a poet and author who delivered the 2019 Burian Lecture the evening before.

Students presenting posters at lunch

"I saw Dr. Nepo's talk last night. Much of what he spoke about was so relevant to what we do in our work and in our communities," said Dr. Dennis. "I was very pleased to have him extend his time on campus with us here today, and I think he was very well-received by this group."

Morning sessions included the topics of suicide prevention, integrating OT into community health, and becoming more trauma informed.

Before lunch was served, students and faculty briefly presented posters, which were on display throughout the room. Attendees were encouraged to visit the posters and engage with presenters throughout the time allotted for lunch.

Attendees during the opening session

Afternoon session topics included health care for refugees, a documentary about Pingalwara, advance care planning for marginalized populations, and size-inclusive health practice.

Dr. Cheryl Dickson, associate dean at the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, gave the closing session, which was focused on racial disparities in sleep-related infant deaths.

The Committee for Diversity and Inclusion offers its gratitude to the Redman Agency in Kalamazoo, which graciously sponsored the event once again this year. They provided breakfast for attendees and also raffled off a tablet during the lunch break.