Culture, Diversity, and Community Outreach at Midwestern University

At Midwestern University, we believe that a diverse campus community leads to innovation, broadened perspectives, and understanding – values that are foundational to excellence in healthcare education and clinical practice.

Midwestern University students in various clinical settings working with patients.

At Midwestern University, diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our academic life, campus community, and clinical practice. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we value and celebrate the diverse backgrounds of each of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and patients and remain steadfast in our commitment to enrich the culture of acceptance and respect of diversity in all its forms throughout our academic community.

Our University's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is dedicated to provide guidance, leadership, and resources in support of the Midwestern University goal of fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution. ODEI's mission is to serve as a hub for coordinating diversity and inclusion efforts across our institution, facilitate multicultural educational programming, and contributing to best practices in healthcare. These activities will be implemented over time and in coordination with all Colleges, Programs, and Departments of the University. A diverse and inclusive campus leads to innovation, broadened perspectives, and understanding-values that are foundational aspects of healthcare education. Contact our office at ODEI@midwestern.edu.

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Midwestern University is dedicated to effect change, overcome inequities, promote greater diversity, and establish a culture of inclusivity that celebrates diversity. We pledge our commitment to undo inequities that exist in policies and practices, advance values of diversity and inclusion, and to create a truly equitable environment for faculty, staff, and students.  Therefore, we pledge the following actions:

  • We will listen to the concerns and suggestions of students related to improved curriculum and community outreach opportunities.
  • We will conduct a systemic review of all policies and procedures to assure continued equal treatment of all faculty, staff, and students.
  • We will work diligently to recruit more underrepresented minority students to all the health professions.
  • We will recognize the value of a diverse faculty, staff, and administration and continue efforts to recruit and retain employees from different racial, ethnic, economic and cultural backgrounds regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation or disability status.
  • We will increase training and development offerings on topics of Diversity & Inclusion, Bias, and Microaggressions.
  • We will create processes for faculty, staff, and students to communicate concerns or incidents of discrimination, bias, or harassment.
  • We will create grant opportunities for research teams to examine ways to improve the delivery of health care and eliminate the health care disparities in underserved, minority communities.
  • We will increase programming and proactively speak out against acts of racial and social injustice.

Midwestern University is an academic institution that has historically stood on principles, mission, and values.  We recognize that supporting diversity and engagement is an important aspect of those principles.  Midwestern University is committed to building a more diverse, more inclusive academic community and promoting equity for all.

Midwestern University is a welcoming community that embraces diversity in all of its forms. We strive to support diversity and inclusivity through education, research, and community outreach and seek to foster multicultural quality in all areas of the institution. Our goal is to promote an equitable environment in which there is a strong connection between our diversity and inclusion values and our educational goals of excellence, achievement, and patient-centered care.

Links and Resources 

Midwestern University Health Equity Webinar Series - Midwestern University has launched the Advancing Health Equity Webinar Series offering timely discussions and featuring real-world situations, best practices, and steps healthcare providers can use to recognize and address bias and healthcare disparities to provide equitable, compassionate care that considers the unique backgrounds and lived experiences of each patient. These one-hour webinars are constructed to assess and discuss an advanced approach to understanding social determinants of health, and how to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the healthcare setting. This webinar series is made possible through a gift from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.  

Midwestern University Library  - Our libraries on both campuses provide an extensive number of scientific journals, print books, e-books, and other materials on various topics related to diversity and equality in health care, including cultural competence and intercultural communication, antiracism, healthcare for individuals with disabilities, spirituality and medical ethics, LGBTQIA+ health and healthcare, and more. Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) services are also available for students, faculty, and staff to request unowned material.

Midwestern University Employee Learning & Development - The Department of Human Resources offers monthly In-Services for Faculty and Staff on both campuses. “HR In-Services” & "Wellness In-Services" are lunch & learn programs in which professional speakers present information on a variety of important and interesting topics. Employees can login to the employee portal to access this information.

Midwestern University Employee Assistant Program (EAP) - Our EAP includes WorkLife Services and is available to eligible employees; it provides referrals to support groups, a network counselor, community resources, or an employee's health plan. Employees can login to the employee portal to access this information.

Midwestern University Employee Disability Accommodations - Employees who believe they are entitled to a reasonable accommodation that will enable them to perform the essential functions of the job should consult with their manager and the Assistant Director of Human Resources. 

Midwestern University Student Counseling & Academic Support Services  - The University provides licensed counselors on campus to help students successfully negotiate life's issues, both academic and personal.   Counseling Services are free to all students currently enrolled at Midwestern University and are designed to provide support and insight regarding issues, concerns, and mental health needs.  Group tutoring services, available for free year-round, are designated to help students enhance test-taking skills, modify study habits, and/or focus on critical material and content. 

Midwestern University Student Disability Services - It is the policy of Midwestern University to ensure that no qualified student with a disability is excluded from participation in or subjected to discrimination in any University program, activity, or event. The University makes reasonable accommodations to the physical and mental limitations of students to the extent that such accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the conduct of its business. Disabled students’ rights are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its amendments (2008). 

CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's OMHHE website provides information and resources related to the science and practice of health equity, addressing health disparities for all populations, racism's impact on public health, women's health, and diversity and inclusion management. 

Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation - The Publications section of the Macy Foundation's webpage contains articles focused on priority areas such as promoting diversity, equity, and belonging and increasing collaboration among future health professionals.

National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center - Educational resources (webinars, publications, videos, toolkits) on the latest developments, issues, and best practices in providing optimal LGBTQIA+ healthcare, by leading researchers and clinicians from across the U.S.   The guide Creating a Welcoming Clinical Environment for LGBT Patients offers suggestions to make a practice environment friendlier; His Health has resources dedicated to addressing stigma, discrimination, and medical mistrust barriers.

National Domestic Violence Hotline and  Love Is Respect - Resources to enhance education, prevention, and intervention efforts around domestic violence and provide advocacy efforts, services, and assistance to victims. 

National Institutes of Health | U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus - Browse health information in multiple languages, arranged by language and by health topic. 

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Talking about Race The National Museum of African American History and Culture (the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution)is devoted to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture, and to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. Its website's Talking About Race section offers various topics and resources to promote historical understanding, community building, and personal reflection.

PubMed - A free online resource supporting the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature, including hundreds of free full-text articles on topics such as diversity, cultural competence & awareness, microaggressions, racism and its impact on healthcare, and more. 

The Upstate Bias Checklist: A Checklist for Assessing Bias in Health Professions Education Content  - A self-explanatory tool in a checklist format for faculty to use when developing or reviewing content for medical and health professions students, applicable to a variety of content, including lecture slides, clinical vignettes, multiple-choice questions, case-based learning materials, and standardized patient encounter scripts. 

Unconscious Bias Resources for Health Professionals - This webpage by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides online resources and training to support diversity and inclusion efforts in admissions, curriculum development, counseling, and faculty advising, among other functions. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Think Cultural Health - This website features information, continuing education opportunities, resources, and more for healthcare professionals to learn about culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). The 'Education' tab contains links to free, continuing education e-learning programs, each designed to help healthcare professionals of various disciplines become more aware of the cultural identity of their patients, to better engage, assess, and treat diverse patient populations. 

Sun Poem: Uncover and Overcome all Unconscious Biases Within (TEDx Talk by Sara Ting) - Sara Ting's work to advance equality came alive through the Sun Poem she wrote in 1978, which then became part of city-wide, multi-media public service campaigns promoting racial and ethnic harmony. Ms. Ting is the founder of World Unity, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to making a lasting contribution toward the elimination of prejudices and discrimination.

Bias, Discrimination, or Harassment Incident/Concern Reporting (login required)

Midwestern University is committed to the highest standards of ethics, honesty, integrity, and compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. Further, we believe that faculty, staff, and students should have the opportunity to confidentially/anonymously ask questions or voice concerns about any campus community issues to further our goals and mission of maintaining a safe, diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for the MWU campus community. Although Midwestern University will strive to maintain the confidentiality of this report and its contents, Midwestern University cannot fully guarantee confidentiality as disclosure of information may be needed to conduct the investigation and to inform personnel with a need to know. The reporting system will allow for the reporting of incidents or concerns relating but not limited to: Equal Opportunity, Discrimination, Harassment, Campus Climate/Bias, Human Resources issues, and Student Conduct issues.

April 2023: Mexican-American high school students from Southern Arizona participate in healthcare career exploration day at Midwestern University, Glendale Campus.

March 2023: Inaugural Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Academics (IDEA) Certificate Program for faculty and staff enhances participants' knowledge and skills on diversity, equity, and inclusive practices in the classroom and daily campus interactions.

February 2023: Promoting equity in healthcare through Black History Month celebrations.

November 2022: Midwestern University Participates in Community Events to Promote Diversity in STEAM careers 

October 2022: Optometry students earn VSP Diversity Scholarship

October 2022: Midwestern University hosts Alumni Diversity Council Mentoring & Day of Service Event

October 2022: Vigils in our Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL campuses honor memory of Mahsa Amini and show support for MWU Iranian-American Community.

September 2022: Midwestern launches Advancing Health Equity Webinar Series offering timely discussions and featuring real-world situations, best practices, and steps healthcare providers can use to recognize and address bias and healthcare disparities to provide equitable, compassionate care that considers the unique backgrounds and lived experiences of each patient. 

September 2022: Midwestern University Celebrates Hispanic History Month. Optometry student Anthony Castro, shares his experience as Vice President of the Spanish Optometry Club, an organization for students to learn how to provide care to patients who speak Spanish as their primary language.  Dr. Alejandro Mayer, a faculty member in the Pharmacology Department, addresses the diversity within the Hispanic community. Victoria Blasvaldes Franks, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, discusses Independence Day celebrations in Latin America, Dia de la Raza, and the contributions made by the Hispanic-American community.

August 2022: For Women's Equality Day, College of Dental Medicine Class of 2023 students and AAWD members Tisha Marie General and Sara Chehreh speak about equal opportunities, support systems, and recognizing and removing barriers.

July 2022: Midwestern University Bridges Program graduates prepare for medical school.

June 2022: Midwestern University celebrates Pride Month. Students, faculty, and staff on our Glendale and Downers Grove Campuses came together to celebrate Tie Dye for Pride! Proceeds from the fundraisers benefited nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving and assisting LGBTQ youth. 

June 2022: CCOM alumni Robert Haynes, D.O. and Christopher M. Logas, D.O., shares the advice they would give to current LGBTQ+ students and how working with the LGBTQ+ community has shaped them into the physicians they are today. 

June 2022: Our faculty and staff share their families' stories in honor of National Immigrant Heritage Month 

April 2022: A Night Around the World event at our Glendale Campus

April 2022: Midwestern University celebrates Diversity Month

February 2022: Our students, faculty and staff celebrate Black History Month by highlighting African American healthcare trailblazers, historical figures, community leaders, and places who inspire them:

February 2022: Video released in remembrance of the 2020 Candlelight Vigils held on both campus honoring the memory of the countless lives sorrowfully lost to racial injustice

January 2022: Midwestern University honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with memorial programs on both campuses

January 2022: Midwestern University celebrates Lunar New Year. Student Kathy Le shares how celebrating Lunar New Year helps her feel connected to her family’s cultural traditions

Midwestern has many active student clubs and organizations on our Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL campuses that focus on building community around shared identity. These student groups are also committed to addressing the needs of underserved communities, supporting current and future underrepresented minority students, and/or increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent, and socially conscious healthcare providers.

All these engaging groups play an important role in building a welcoming, inclusive campus environment.

 student clubs and organizations 

Glendale, AZ Clubs and Organizations 
 

Downers Grove, IL Clubs and Organizations 

Midwestern University is pleased to announce a new Diversity Scholarship that will provide need-based scholarships for qualified students on both the Downers Grove, Illinois, and Glendale, Arizona campuses. Midwestern University students from all Colleges and Programs are eligible to apply for the two $5,000 scholarships that will be awarded for each campus beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year.

“At Midwestern University, our culture has long been one of equity—for our students, for our faculty and staff, for our patients, and for our communities.,” said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University. “Strengthening and promoting diversity in the healthcare workforce is a critical component of Midwestern University's mission to educate the twenty-first century healthcare team to meet the needs of all members of our society,” she added.

Details about the application process and eligibility requirements are available on the University’s Scholarships page. The MWU Diversity Scholarship is part of the University’s 5-Step Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion and an addition to the already robust scholarship opportunities available to Midwestern University students.

Visit the Scholarships page for diversity and other scholarships.

Scholarships

Midwestern University is a graduate healthcare institution that dedicates its resources to educational excellence and embraces diversity in our academic family and the community-at-large. It is within our University's responsibility as an academic institution to disseminate knowledge about Native peoples and the institution's history with them. Consistent with the University's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Midwestern strives to build relationships with Native Nations and Indigenous communities through academic and research pursuits, partnerships, community service, employee recruitment, and enrollment efforts. By acknowledging the historical context of the land we use, we strive to foster dialogue and connection across cultures and to promote the recognition of the history of our Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL communities. Acknowledging the history of the land on which our campuses are located presents an opportunity to support, raise awareness of, and collaborate with Indigenous communities today.

We respectfully acknowledge that the Midwestern University Downers Grove, IL Campus is on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires - the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa -, and many other tribes that resided on or migrated through the area for generations, including the Illinois, Menominee, Miami, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, Dakota, and Ho-Chunk nations. Our campus is also near an urban Native American community in Chicago and several tribes in the Midwest. The area was a site of trade, travel, gathering, and healing for more than a dozen other Native tribes and is still home to over 100,000 tribal members in the state of Illinois. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the Indigenous peoples who have been caretakers of the land throughout generations, past and present.

We respectfully acknowledge that the Midwestern University Glendale, AZ Campus is on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the people of twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries, sharing their unique spiritual, cultural, and economic richness. Our Arizona campus is located in the Salt River Valley, the ancestral territory of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima), the Piipaash (Maricopa), and many other tribes that resided on or migrated through the area for generations, including the Ak-Chin, Apache, Aztec, Cocopah, Hopi, and Yavapai nations. As far back as 12,000 years ago, indigenous cultures made their home in present-day Arizona. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the Indigenous peoples who have been caretakers of the land throughout generations, past and present.

A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land we use, and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

 Sources

The Morton Arboretum, Land Acknowledgement, https://mortonarb.org/about-arboretum/inclusion/land-acknowledgment/ (accessed 10/26/2021)

Downers Grove Public Library, Land Acknowledgement, https://dglibrary.org/land/ (accessed 10/26/2021)

Heard Museum – Education, Arizona Indian Communities, https://heard.org/education/arizona-indian-communities/ (accessed 10/27/21)

Arizona Commission on the Arts, Where We are, https://azarts.gov/about-us/land-acknowledgement/ (accessed 10/27/2021)2: Land Acknowledgement

Sources

The Morton Arboretum, Land Acknowledgement, https://mortonarb.org/about-arboretum/inclusion/land-acknowledgment/ (accessed 10/26/2021)

Downers Grove Public Library, Land Acknowledgement, https://dglibrary.org/land/ (accessed 10/26/2021)

Heard Museum – Education, Arizona Indian Communities, https://heard.org/education/arizona-indian-communities/ (accessed 10/27/21)

Arizona Commission on the Arts, Where We are, https://azarts.gov/about-us/land-acknowledgement/ (accessed 10/27/2021)2: Land Acknowledgement

Defining DEI

Diversity refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences and intersections of culture and circumstance, and reflects a broad range of identities and perspectives, including race, ethnicity, age, religious beliefs, language, gender identity, and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, disability status, disability status, veteran status, geographic region, and more. Greater diversity is conducive to more robust, creative, and relevant outcomes in scholarly and academic processes, academic and social programming, and community engagement. Diversity enriches the educational and employment experience for everyone, and we are unequivocal in our support of underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

Equity is creating opportunities for equal access and success for historically underrepresented populations. It requires proactive steps to identify, address, and eliminate systemic barriers in order to promote meaningful transformation and progress.

Inclusion & Belonging is a commitment to creating environments in which all individuals and groups feel welcome, respected, heard, supported, and valued while recognizing that each individual is unique and acknowledging differences and intersections across social identities. Inclusion requires listening to other viewpoints and embracing and celebrating differences. Feeling included and connected elevates engagement and a sense of belonging for everyone on campus. Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity.

Cultural Awareness & Humility refers to the institutional and personal commitment to obtain and demonstrate knowledge and skills that allow us to learn, work, and engage effectively in a diverse environment. Cultural humility in healthcare involves understanding the complexity of identities, health-related beliefs, practices, and cultural values of diverse populations, as well as recognizing that a clinician may never be fully competent about the evolving and dynamic nature of a patient's experience.

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