The energy and excitement synonymous with the arrival of a new incoming class of medical students is always palpable, but I experienced it more intensely this year. You can literally feel the engagement and excitement of the Class of 2021 members in our photos. At the beginning of each academic year, Feinberg's Diversity and Inclusion Council hosts a welcome event for the incoming class. It's an opportunity for us to send an unmistakable message that diversity and inclusion are important cultural elements throughout the Feinberg community. In addition to students, faculty and staff feasting on food that celebrated culture around the world, it was also a time to reconnect with colleagues and friends across the Feinberg and Northwestern Medicine communities and to begin forming new collaborations and friendships. The camaraderie on display was particularly impressive when viewed in the context of several high-profile events that have played out on the national stage and threatened to create division among our tremendously diverse society. We would be remiss to think that these events do not impact us at Feinberg. Addressing these issues and their impact on Feinberg, Dean Neilson reached out to the community to reiterate the medical school's commitment to civility and to honor its social contract to show tolerance and compassion for human differences.
Simply put, Feinberg contributes to societal equity by placing great value on healthcare and improving human health beyond the individual patient. Still, it is critical that Feinberg provide spaces where community members can express their thoughts and feelings. Aware of the importance of dialogue in such trying times, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Augusta Webster, MD, Office of Medical Education worked together to bring a concept called sustained dialogue to Feinberg students. As a result, this fall a group of approximately 60 students are piloting our sustained dialogue program, the first ever such program to occur at an academic medical center. Read more about it here.
In this issue, readers will discover several more examples of how Feinberg students consistently model inclusion. Earlier this month, three second-year medical students facilitated a Safe Space Training designed to provide information and engagement that results in a safe space for LGBT community members. Meanwhile, 2017 graduate Will Weber shares a column that shows how students use what they learn through our curriculum and clinical spaces in their residencies and beyond. Cognizant of not haphazardly placing individuals in neatly arranged boxes, Weber walks readers through his process of diagnosing an 80-year-old patient he treated in his Emergency Department. This issue's Pathway to Medicine column — a favorite feature for many of our readers — is also sure to capture attention. New faculty member Ike S. Okwuosa, MD, describes why he chose Feinberg for residency — despite Chicago's cold winters — after realizing the depth of the culture of inclusion within our community.
Teresa Mastin, PhD, Director, Diversity and Inclusion
Teresa Mastin, PhD
Director of Diversity and Inclusion