DEI in Internal Medicine – November 2023

The following newsletter is provided by clinical associate professor Jeydith Gutierrez, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Department of Internal Medicine.

We are entering what is becoming widely known as “the season of giving.” We give thanks for bountiful harvests, for our loved ones, and for a profession that we feel proud of, and we feel compelled to give back to our families and our communities. As we approach this season of giving, it is worth noticing the beauty of diversity that surrounds us, allowing us, not only to recognize the differences, but more importantly, to embrace the common threads that unite us. I encourage you to learn more and join others in their celebrations. And to consider how people in other cultures, regions, or other countries celebrate this season, contributing to many different beautiful traditions in this world that we live in. November is filled with cultural awareness days and holidays, some celebrated globally, and some locally.

November is the Native American Heritage Month, recognizing and celebrating Native people in the United States of America as they share their culture, traditions, and concepts of life.

November 11 marks Veterans Day, a day to honor and thank the Veterans for their sacrifice and selfless service to our country.

Diwali is an auspicious Indian holiday, also known as the “Festival of Lights” celebrated around the world and this year the biggest celebration is on November 12.

On November 20, people all over the world will come together to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing those who gave their lives to merely be their authentic selves.

Just as giving, and celebrating, means something different to all of us, so are the contributions each of us brings to work with us each day. We give our education, our nurturing, and our individual natures to each patient and colleague we encounter. We give our knowledge and our camaraderie to each other as we continue to change medicine and change lives.


Share your experience and join our health equity team

We are creating a repository about health equity activities and expertise in our department. Please fill out this survey to let us know about your interest, activities, and expertise in some of these areas.


Department of Internal Medicine Diversity get-together

The department hosted a family-friendly get-together at the Iowa City City Park on Saturday, September 23, for our department faculty and staff from Underrepresented in Medicine backgrounds. Thank you to everyone who attended this lunch. Please pass on what you enjoyed to colleagues who may be interested to attend in the future!


Internal Medicine Day 2023

Supported by the American College of Physicians (ACP), we celebrated #InternalMedicineDay on Saturday, October 28, this year by asking providers across specialties and levels of learning to share with us why they chose Internal Medicine. We shared these sentiments across our Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn accounts!


DEI Training Opportunities

Consider these University of Iowa Health Care opportunities to continue learning about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging:

  • BUILD Health Care Training: For faculty and staff who are interested in learning from local experts, the Office of Health Parity is offering a series of in-person workshops that specifically address health care disparities and how to mitigate them. The six-week UI Health Care BUILD program will begin February 1, 2024. Enrollment is now open for all UI Health Care faculty and staff.
  • National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI): Leadership for Equity and Inclusion: For faculty and staff. Participants will be prompted (to the extent each are comfortable) to engage in self-reflection and sharing, to practice talking about the messages we internalize about our own and others’ groups, to correct misinformation through “caucus” sessions, to learn through the sharing of personal stories and experiences, and to begin practicing how to respond to hurtful jokes, comments, and slurs. Sign up through Self Service > My Career > My Training > search “NCBI”.

November is Native American Heritage Month

There are multiple celebrations and events taking place across campus. These events come from the Latino Native American Cultural Center (LNACC), the Native American Student Association (NASA), and the Native American Council (NAC). See the detailed schedule of the celebrations hosted by the University of Iowa.


Additional events and celebrations

  • November 6-10 – National First Generation College Celebration Week: National First Gen College Celebration, held each year nationally on November 8 to commemorate the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, encourages colleges and universities across the country to celebrate the successes of the institution’s first-generation faculty, staff, and students.
  • November 7-11 – UI Asian Pacific American Cultural Center Week: APACC Week is a fall initiative brought by the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC). Every day for a week, the APACC puts on a series of events under an umbrella theme. Events come in all mediums from presentations, collaborative activities, and creative experiences. The events typically center around the Asian American identity and experience
  • November 11 – Veteran’s Day
  • November 13-17 – International Education Week: International Education Week celebrates the many ways international education and exchange opportunities prepare citizens for community building in both national and international settings.
  • November 20 – Transgender Day of Remembrance: is an annual observance that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

November cultural and religious celebrations

  • a de los Muertos (Mexican) – November 1-2: the multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and to remember friends and family members who have died.
  • All Saints Day (Catholic) – November 1: A day to honor all holy men and women who have been canonized in the Catholic Church.
  • Anniversary of the Crowning of Haile Selassie (Rastafarian) – November 2: The day when Haile Selassie ascended the Ethiopian throne. This is one of the holiest days in the Rastafarian year.
  • Guru Nanak Ji’s Birthday (Sikh) – November 27: A day commemorating the birth of Guru Nanak Ji who founded Sikhism.
  • Diwali (Hindu) – November 12: A 5-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. Called “the festival of lights,” it symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” [Related: A Diwali diary from Poorani Sekar, MD.]
  • Thanksgiving (Secular) – November 23: Celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and unofficially in countries like Brazil and the Philippines, this is a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the preceding year.
  • Jain New Year (Jain) – November 27: A day celebrated on the first day after the month of Kartika.
  • St. Andrew’s Feast Day (Catholic) – November 30: St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Barbados, and Romania. This day honors him, his good works, and his canonization in the Catholic Church.

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