CHETchat #3 | Yari Gallegos
Friday, August 9
A crowd of nearly 30 participants gathered at a conference room on Northwestern’s Chicago campus on August 9th for the last Hidden Figures Book club event of the summer. The program started with opening remarks from Dr. Patricia Canessa, an Adjunct Instructor for the Department of Medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Canessa spoke about the importance of racial and socioeconomic representation in academic and work settings and taking risks to achieve equity and create change in our everyday lives. After Dr. Canessa’s encouraging words, we broke off into smaller discussion groups and went over two questions. The second question we discussed really stood out to me: “What does it mean to be an unhidden figure and if you had a choice, would you choose to remain hidden?” Once this question was discussed in the larger group, there were very mixed responses. Some expressed wanting to remain hidden so they could achieve their goals and create change without being disrupted by outside criticism. Others wanted to be unhidden so they could serve as mentors in their communities. Overall, the CHETchat Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series was a great success and was filled with fascinating and lively discussions. I’m looking forward to all the amazing conversations that this year’s book selection will spark this academic year!
CHETchat #2 | Yari Gallegos
Monday, July 8
Lively discussions took place on July 8th at the Lurie-Hughes Auditorium on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. These discussions were the result of the second CHETchat of the Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series hosted by the Center for Health Equity Transformation. The book group began with opening remarks by CHET Director of Operations Sarah Rittner. Then, attendees broke out into small discussion groups where we considered the question: “What, if anything, is different about inclusion in education and the workforce today?” This sparked conversation on representation in the workplace, the intersections of race and gender identity, and policies that exist in education and the workplace.
After the small group discussions, we came together as a larger group to discuss the question. What stood out from this discussion was a conversation on the difference between not excluding people and actual inclusion. Institutions and organizations have started to release more “diversity statements” and have expressed a commitment to fostering a diverse environment, but many times these are “blank statements” with limited concrete action steps and intentions behind them. In order to see real inclusion in education and the workplace, we have to move towards actually changing the culture in these places and provide access to necessary resources and support systems. The third and final CHETchat for the summer will be taking place on Monday August 12th at the McGaw-Daniel Hale Williams Auditorium. Can’t wait!
CHETchat #1 | Yari Gallegos
Monday, June 24
On Monday, June 24th, students and community members gathered in the McGaw-Daniel Hale Williams Auditorium at Northwestern’s Chicago campus for the first One Book event of the summer: CHETchat: Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series. This book club series is made up of three book discussions organized by the Center for Health Equity Transformation, a group that aims to address health inequities in all sectors; CHET’s work attempts to improve human health by pushing boundaries and through education. CHET is led by Dr. Melissa Simon MD, MPH.
The book group discussion on Monday began with opening remarks from CHET Director, Melissa Simon. Dr. Simon gave some inspiring words about hidden figures in healthcare and encouraged audience members to push boundaries by going outside the box and “looking past what’s in the box.” After Dr. Simon’s motivational words, attendees divided into small groups to discuss three main questions: What does the term ‘hidden figures’ mean to you? How do hidden figures influence/impact equity? In what aspect of your life are you a hidden figure? After discussing these questions with our small groups, we discussed these ideas as a larger group. Folks shared their experiences as hidden figures in their workplaces and student groups, feeling the responsibility to uplift their communities, and talking about the policies and institutions that keep certain stories hidden. By the end of this book group chat, one thing was clear: our experiences matter, we all matter. While the event was only an hour in length, attendees left with having had incredible discussions and excitement for the next CHETchat on Monday, July 8th.