Second OUWB Diversity Week begins Oct. 9
An image of OUWB students
Members of the OUWB Class of 2025 pose for a picture on their first day of orientation in 2021.

OUWB plans to hold its second Diversity Week starting Oct. 9 — a time to celebrate, educate, and gain overall better understanding of the different identities and experiences present at the school’s campuses.

Events will be held every day of the week, starting with a kick-off reception on Monday and culminating with a multicultural indoor block party on Friday. (see full schedule below)

Tonya Bailey, Ph.D., associate dean for Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement, says the week is important for several reasons.

“First of all, it represents our mission and vision, wherein we say that diversity and inclusion are a part of our value system and who we are,” she says.

“Commitment to diversity” is identified specifically in the school’s vision, and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” are among OUWB’s top values.

An image of Dr. Tonya BaileyBailey

“We are committed to cultivating and nurturing an inclusive environment that values and respects a diverse and equitable community of students, staff, and faculty,” the school states on its webpage about its Foundations for Success.

The other big reason for Diversity Week, says Bailey, is because OUWB has such a “rich, diverse culture.”

“We don’t always get opportunities to understand, celebrate, acknowledge, and even promote our cultural heritage and backgrounds,” she says.

The first Diversity Week at OUWB was a student-led initiative. It was held in April.

Bailey says school officials supported the effort and set out to expand the event for the new academic year. It was moved to October to allow students to settle into a routine after the beginning of the year, but before the December break and well before the end-of-the-year activities held in spring.

A committee of students, faculty, and staff was formed to plan and organize the week. Bailey says committee members were tasked with building a week of events around the theme of this year’s Diversity Week: “You Matter.”

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Dylan Moran, M2, was a part of the committee. She is coordinating the multicultural indoor block party. Scheduled to be held in 110 O’Dowd Hall, the event will feature student organizations like the Chaldean American Medical Student Association, South Asian Medical Outreach Student Association, and the Jewish Medical Student Association, just to name a few.

“Learning about different cultures is important for us as a community,” she says. “This is a good opportunity for us all to be in the same room and talk.”

Moran says it’s also important for medical students to learn as much about different cultures as possible.

“As future providers, we’re going to be exposed to all kinds of cultures,” she says. “It’s extremely important to understand different views and cultures, especially when we’re talking about various treatment options.”

When the week concludes, Bailey says there will be several ways its success will be gauged.

“We measure this by the sense of belonging that students, faculty, and staff walk into after attending an event like this,” she says. “We measure it by the way our school continues to be known as a place where everyone feels valued and respected.”

“And we also measure it by behavior changes…how we support one another, how we listen more, how we become allies,” she adds.

The schedule for the week is as follows:

Diversity Week Kick-Off Reception
Monday, Oct. 9
Noon-1 p.m.
O'Dowd Hall
Second Floor, Main Hallway
Kick off the week with a strolling reception that includes a few words from Chris Carpenter, M.D., Stephan Sharf Interim Dean, OUWB; Tonya Bailey, Ph.D., associate dean, Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement; and Joseph Solomon, M2, president, Medical Student Government. Light refreshments will be served.

TED Talk Diversity Response & Analysis
Tuesday, Oct. 10
Noon -1 p.m.
Hybrid: Zoom and 204 O'Dowd Hall
TED talks will be played for participants, all of which relate to the topic of diversity. Participants will engage in dialogue to expand their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the impact on our society.

Lunch & Learn: “Diverse Voices: Lived Experience and Insights for the Health Care Community”
Wednesday, Oct. 11
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
110 O'Dowd Hall
This event will feature a lunch and give attendees an opportunity to discuss cultural lived experiences and learn from differences. This talk will discuss the experiences of transgender and nonbinary people as they navigate the medical system and face barriers accessing equitable and affirming care. 

Dinner with a Doctor
Wednesday, Oct. 11
6-7 p.m.
110 O'Dowd Hall
This event will feature dinner and dialogue with a diverse panel of physicians as they share their experiences and insight on navigating diversity in health care.

LGBTQ+ Older Adults: A Step Forward in Understanding
Thursday, Oct. 12
1:30-2:30 p.m.
LGBTQ+ older adults have unique physical and mental health needs, which can make it difficult to trust providers. This workshop explores the challenges and needs of these populations, as well as the importance/necessity of asking difficult questions. Partnership with CEME. 

Profiles of Excellence: Chingona 101 Panel
Thursday, Oct. 12
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Oakland Center, Gold A
Get a master class on how to redefine the term “Chingona” pronounced Cheen gō ná/ from bossy to fierce in celebration of community leaders who exemplify what it means to be a Chingona in male dominated fields. Sponsored by OU Latinx ERG.

Virtual Healing Space
Friday, Oct. 13
Noon -1 p.m.
This session serves as an opportunity for people to connect and offer supportive group spaces in processing the ongoing battle of difference across our globe. We invite participants to bring a cultural heritage object to share during the session. 

Multicultural (Indoor) Block Party
Friday, Oct. 13
1-3 p.m.
110 O'Dowd Hall
Diversity Week culminates with this event featuring cultural food, music, live cultural performances, and a meet-and-greet with student affinity groups. Best of all, there will be an opportunity to mix and mingle with others from across the OUWB community. 

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.