A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) hosted its fourth virtual open forum discussion in the President’s Cultural Proficiency Speaker Series on Thursday. The activity is designed to provide an opportunity to ATSU’s campus community for open and honest dialogue around race, class, culture, and equity.
This installment focused on voice, transparency, authenticity, trustworthiness, access, and opportunity on the path to cultural proficiency. Christi Griffin, JD, founder and CEO of the Ethics Project, and Anthony Palatta, DDS, EdD, chief learning officer, American Dental Education Association, were the featured speakers.
Throughout the previous President’s Cultural Proficiency Speaker Series discussions, the underlying theme has been a call to action for open and honest dialogue about the disease of racism. Clinton Normore, MBA, vice president for diversity & inclusion, opened the discussion by reminding participants of a key pathway to cultural proficiency through mutual understanding and respect.
“A profound component of cultural proficiency is that we must be mature enough, if not human enough, to understand that we are not always going to agree all the time,” Normore said. “Being able to mitigate that understanding and agree to disagree and move on. Systems are predicated on a structure but are delivered with the individual’s perspective. We are all human beings and none of us is without fault.”
Part of moving forward includes involvement from everyone, not just one or two groups, but society as a whole.
“It doesn’t just happen in the bubble, at one level, or at one place, but we have to wake everybody up and we all have to be part of this discussion,” Dr. Palatta said.
“Invite other members of the community to understand that we will never be healed and healthy as a country until we heal this disease of racism,” Dr. Griffin said. “Many of the things that medicine addresses, that osteopathic medicine addresses, that other medical fields address, the work that dentistry does, the food desert that feeds the many different aspects of disease and illnesses that permeate our community, will never be fully addressed until we get to the deepest crevasses of racism.”
A question and answer session followed the discussion between Drs. Griffin and Palatta, where the question was posed multiple times, “How are you going to fix this?”
“I ask, how are you going to,” Dr. Palatta asked, with added emphasis on “you.” “That’s my message to everyone watching today. Change starts with the individual and if you change yourself, you’ll get to see the change in the world. So, I can’t answer the question, you have to answer it.”
Watch previously recorded sessions from this series, here.