Students and Community

Celebrating Healthy Diversity

Oakland University School of Health Sciences unites campus and community for landmark Healthology Symposium

Someone giving a speech in a banquet room

icon of a calendarApril 19, 2024

icon of a pencilBy Jillian Wolf

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Healthy Diversity, recognizing and embracing diversity in all areas of life, is a critical aspect to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. From establishing information that is accurate and representative, to promoting inclusive environments where all abilities can thrive and strengthening communities through differences – it is more important now than ever for health professionals to collaborate to serve their patients and communities best.

The School of Health Sciences’ annual Healthology Symposium, where science, practice and social interests meet, enables students, faculty and community partners to make meaningful connections, affecting positive change and impacting the needs of citizens within the campus community and beyond.

Through the support of the School of Health Sciences and over 30 co-chairs and speakers from 18 different organizations, the 2024 Symposium focused on Healthy Diversity in the areas of knowledge, ability, family, mental health and nutrition

The informative, uplifting sessions surrounding each of the themes consisted of lightning talks followed by interactions between presenters, student and faculty researchers, external vendors and guests. Tellingly, “all eyes were up front” and “not a single person looked at their phones”, and the room was filled with vibrant discussions during the wellness-fair-like activities. And everyone enjoyed a delicious and nutritious buffet-style dinner, featuring healthful Jamaican and Palestinian cuisine from local community chefs.

Words such as “interesting”, “engaging”, “informing”, “challenging”, “inspiring” and “fun” were heard across the wide-ranging and diverse audience. 

For the keynote address, SHS welcomed Kirstie Ennis, U.S. Marine veteran, amputee and adventure athlete with a truly inspirational story of rising above adversity. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Kirstie held the audience captive, and words simply cannot describe the energy in the room. “The audience gave Kirstie a standing ovation before she even got on stage,” Kevin Ball, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of the School of Health Sciences, says. “Then everyone was so engrossed when she was speaking that you could’ve heard a pin drop. It was perhaps the most inspirational, heartfelt presentation any of us have ever heard. And there were more questions and stories of gratitude than we had time for in the Q+A session. This was certainly an event that will be remembered by all.”

Visit the Healthology website to learn more about the history, vision, mission and goals of the impactful symposium.

An event like this truly takes an interdisciplinary, diverse team, and the School of Health Sciences expresses their utmost gratitude to everyone who made this event possible:

2024 Sponsors: Apricity Foundation, Telva and David McGruder, Kroger Health, McLaren Oakland, Easterseals MORC, Direct Rx, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), Medical Network One, OMPT Specialists, Kevin A. Ball and Margaret J. Afheldt Health Symposium Endowment, McGraw Catalpa, John and Patricia Waugh, Wright & Filippis

Speakers, Co-Chairs, and Campus and Community Partners: Glenn Ellis (Strategies for Well-Being, LLC), Christina Lim (OU SHS), Jason Wasserman (OUWB), Tara Diesbourg (OU SHS), Darlene Groomes (OU School of Education and Human Services – SEHS), Brent Wirth (Easterseals MORC), Cindy Crabill (Trinity Health), Melissa Jones (OU SHS), Julie Kruse (OU School of Nursing – SON), Maria Beam (OU Social Work), Terry Dibble (OU SHS), Becky Lewis (OU Recreation and Well-Being), Sarah Martin (OU SHS), Ewa Matuszewski (Medical Network One), Kevin Peasgood (Chartwells at OU), Ramin Homayouni (OUWB), Mark C. Navin (OU Philosophy, Corewell Health East), Ed Kiefer (Easterseals MORC), Justin Lamb (OU SEHS), Kathryn Rogueau (OU SHS), Jeanne Schulte (SEHS), Teresa Chahine (OU SON), Kwame Sakyi (OU SHS), Lauren Smith (Trinity Health), Susan Bailey (Marsh McLennan Agency), Matthew Baron (Redefined Counseling Services), Andrea Buckley (Drea Inspires), Napoleon Harrington (Ambassador Counseling and Resource Group, George Azar (Flowers of Vietnam), Michael Block (The Salvation Army), Kayrone Wright (Chartwells at OU)

The 2024 Healthology Planning Committee: Kevin Ball, Sarah Brown, Terry Dibble, Tara Diesbourg, Janice Eaton, Debi Gibbs, Melissa Jones, Renee Lesnau-Kennedy, Christina Lim, Sarah Martin, Jillian Wolf

University Support Services: SHS and OU Administrators, University Communications and Marketing, Video and Technology Services, Print Shop, Oakland Center Staff, Chartwells at OU

And YOU, our community – for without you, the concept of Healthology would not exist.

A crowd sitting at tables in a banquet room

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