Biennial Diversity and Inclusion Conference

The conference on diversity and inclusion brings WMU faculty, staff, administrators and students together with professionals from a variety of disciplines and community members to learn from each other and to identify strategies that will facilitate improved health outcomes for diverse members of our local and global communities. The conference includes a lecture and keynote, one-hour workshops and poster sessions developed by students and faculty.

2019 Diversity and Inclusion Conference

Health Care: The Power of a Community Who Cares

February 22, 2019 | 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | CHHS room 4010

The conference included workshops and posters from WMU faculty and students representing a number of academic disciplines. And will be held in various rooms in the College of Health and Human Services, but will begin and end in CHHS room 4010. Links to presentation materials are below.

Keynote Conversation

More Together Than Alone - the Power and Spirit of Community
9 to 10:15 a.m.

Dr. Mark Nepo
This talk and conversation is based on the publication of Mark’s new book, More Together Than Alone. After twelve years of research, the New York Times bestselling author has gathered stories and lessons of community from across cultures and history, with the aim of affirming that, despite the hardships always present, we are more together than alone.

Concurrent sessions

Morning sessions - 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

  • Culturally Responsive Suicide Prevention in Health Care
    Kathy Lewis-Ginebaugh and Ingrid Rank - Western Michigan University

  • Development and Integration of Occupational Therapy into Community Health and the Primary Care Model: Investing in Community at its core through a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
    Joel Phillips - Kalamazoo Family Health Center
  • Becoming a Trauma Informed Community: Perspectives from the Kalamazoo Equity Taskforce
    Veronica McKissack, Stephanie Moore, Gwen Lanier, Jen Strebs, Dexter A. Mitchell, Cheryl Dickson, Bridget Weller - Western Michigan University

Afternoon sessions - 1 to 2 p.m.

  • Accessing Health Care: Challenges for the Refugee Population
    Jessica Gladden - Western Michigan University
  • Pingalwara: In Letter and Spirit Documentary
    Manvir Kaur and Japman Kaur - Western Michigan University students
  • Engaging Marginalized Populations in Advance Care Planning
    Hilary Kerr - Western Michigan University
    Download presentation
  • Size-Inclusive Health Practice: Promoting Health without Promoting Prejudice
    Virginia Dicken - Western Michigan University

Closing Session

Cradle on Safe-Sleep Strategies
2:15 to 3:25 p.m.

Cheryl Dickson, M.D., Associate Dean, WMU Homer Striker M.D. School of Medicine
Dr. Dickson’s presentation will describe Cradle Kalamazoo as a collective-impact model to reduce the racial disparity seen in infant deaths. There will be an overview and specific description of safe sleep strategies promotion efforts with discussion of a  creative Interdisciplinary program  developed for home visitors and a current program to increase awareness and promotion with development of community partners. We will also discuss the interdisciplinary AAMC grant program focused on academic partnerships to improve health equity, focused on health equity to improve access to care for pregnant women of color.


About Dr. Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” His work is widely accessible and used by many and his books have been translated into more than twenty languages. A bestselling author, he has published twenty books and recorded fourteen audio projects. Please visit Mark at

Past Conferences