Tag Archives: Inclusivity

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month showcases diversity through dance, stories and cuisine

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, and Georgia Regents University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is providing several opportunities for the GRU community to celebrate Asian-Pacific culture.

This year’s month-long celebration, signed into law in 1992, started with an online Asian-Pacific heritage trivia contest and a yoga demonstration at the JSAC Outdoor Plaza during Finals Week.

On Friday, May 22, the Magical Fires of Polynesia, a CSRA-based group of Polynesian entertainers, will present a hula demonstration from noon – 1 p.m. at the Terrace Café on the second floor of the Georgia Regents Medical Center. These popular entertainers are known for their authentic dance and colorful costumes.

On Friday, May 29, Sodexo will conduct an Asian cooking demonstration in the Magnolia and Dogwood rooms at the Terrace Café. Everyone is invited to taste their offerings and learn more about Asian cuisine.

This year’s Asian-Pacific Heritage Video Spotlight features Dr. Stephen Hsu, GRU College of Dental Research. His groundbreaking research involving the medicinal properties of green tea has made headlines across the world, but his personal story is equally compelling.

GRU Equality Clinic wins national award

The founders of Georgia Regents University’s student-run Equality Clinic have been named the 2015 recipients of the American Medical Student Association/Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Achievement Award.

The award, which provides national recognition to medical students who make significant and innovative contributions to the advancement of LGBT health, will be presented at the AMSA National Convention today through March 1 in Washington, D.C.

The Equality Clinic, which is operated by students and supervised by faculty, became the first clinic in the Augusta area to target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients when it opened in fall 2014. The free, twice-monthly clinic offers primary care services in a culturally competent environment that without judgment or discrimination. While the clinic primarily focuses on LGBT populations, it is open to anyone whose income falls below the 200 percent poverty level and who is uninsured or underinsured.

Recent studies have shown that more than half of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender patients have been refused care, blamed for their health status, physically or verbally abused by a provider, or refused to be touched by medical staff. The Equality Clinic opened to help address and eradicate those barriers.

Student founders include second-year Medical College of Georgia students Lauren Titus, Kyle Friez, Michelle Cohen, Kevin Robertson, Charlotte Ball, and Caleb King; fourth-year medical student, Justin Neisler; and Nicole Mayberry, a first-year physician assistant student in the GRU College of Allied Health Sciences.

Other MCG faculty and staff who have been instrumental in the clinic’s opening and operation, also will be recognized, including Dr. David Kriegel, Associate Professor of Family Medicine who serves as the clinic’s Medical Director; Dr. Bruce LeClair, Associate Professor of Family Medicine; Dr. Lara Stepleman, Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, who is in charge of the mental health services provided in the clinic; and Alexis L. Rossi, Director of Diversity, Training, and Evaluation, who serves as the clinic’s adviser.

The Equality Clinic serves an average of nearly 30 patients each month, some of them from as far away as Charleston, S.C. For more information on the Equality Clinic, please visit: EqualityClinicAugusta.com.

For Guion, the importance comes through connections

As Black History Month was about to kick off, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kent Guion took some time to sit at the side table in his office in the G. Lombard Kelly Administration Building to talk about the intersection of black history with general history and the importance of connections.

“I think history is fairly stable until you begin to put the connections together, and that’s when it really becomes interesting,” he said. “I think that’s an important element of why recognizing and understanding contributions is an ongoing part of what we do.”

Over the years, he said, Black History Month has shifted away from a narrower focus on civil rights and individual accomplishments to include broader elements that are more reflective of life in general.

“You think about something like a sports figure crossing a color barrier,” he said. “That meant something at one point for sports, but when you get to see how that influences other kinds of activities, like public policy, and when you piece it all together, you see that one event sets up the opportunity for others to happen. It may have once been mainly significant to baseball, but really, when you look at it closely, it was about a lot more.”

Created four years ago, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion handles cultural competency issues, works with international students and employees, and also works to ensure that everyone has equal access to job opportunities.

“We want to create and maintain an environment here on campus that is very inclusive,” he said. “It’s a lot about awareness, a lot about education, and we want it to be embraceable. Many of the activities are open to whoever is able to participate, and many times we have activities that faculty, staff, and students will actually be the lead on.”

Students in particular learn a lot from putting on an event themselves, he said.

This year’s Black History Month will include cooking demonstrations at the Terrace Café, a black history trolley tour sponsored by the Lucy Craft Laney Museum and SouthStar Trolley, a James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils (JAMP) performance at the Terrace Café, and an ongoing trivia contest, something Guion first used in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I was astounded by the number of people who did the trivia the last go around We had over 12,000 visits to the trivia question webpage” he said.

For a more comprehensive list of events, click here.

In keeping with the national theme, this year’s events celebrate a century of black life history and culture. A hundred years ago, Carter G. Woodson, considered the father of Black History Month, began to formulate his ideas concerning the celebration.

For a short video about Woodson, click here.

“I like to think of it as unique, but also united,” Guion said of singling out recognition for black achievement. “We can have specialties and variety, but it really is about the community that we build. And I think that’s one of the components that allows there to be a lot of participation.”

Guion, who has a master’s in physical education with an emphasis on exercise physiology as well as an MD, has been in Augusta for 12 years, arriving as an associate dean in allied health sciences, where part of his role was to develop cultural competency and learning opportunities for students. He later became the interim dean for allied health sciences for nearly two years. Four years ago, when President Ricardo Azziz decided a diversity and inclusion office was needed, he appointed Guion to head it up.

After 21 years in the University System of Georgia, Guion recently accepted a position at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and will be leaving at the end of March.

Before coming to Augusta, Guion was at Georgia Southern during a time of unprecedented growth, so he’s enjoyed a unique perspective regarding GRU’s consolidation and expansion.

“When I was at Georgia Southern, I think it went from 8,000 students to nearly 18,000, so I had a sense of what change on that scale would feel like,” he said. “I’ve always been an optimistic person when it comes to change. To be able to see 20 years down the road is the viewpoint that I’ve always had, and felt I like, wow, to have a unified university in a community of this size, – what a great thing. We know we’ve got to get through this early phase, but really, how beneficial could that be for the community, especially a couple decades from now?”

While building diversity is a stated goal of the university, Guion admitted it’s not one that’s easy to achieve, given the internal tension between being unique and united.

“But when you can embrace both of those concepts, I think it all makes so much more sense,” he said. “Black History Month is just as much our history as it is black history, though it’s a difficult concept to grasp when it looks as if it’s being separated.”

It comes back, he said, to making those connections.

“I think, as a society, we’re working through it,” he said. “I think once we understand the importance of how all of these complex pieces fit together, these occasions will become much more just a part of who we are: our identity. At least that’s my hope.”


Georgia Regents University celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Georgia Regents University will host various events inspired by our country’s African-American heritage.

 This year’s theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture,” speaks of an overview of the past century in which there has been a transformation in our society’s collective understanding of the role of African-Americans in this nation’s history.

This month’s events include  a panel discussion on the historic landmark case Brown v. Board of Education and musical presentation by the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils.

For a complete list of GRU’s Black History Month activities, visit http://gru.edu/diversity/bhm/events.php or contact GRU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 706-721-9265.

Safe Zone Awareness Training

Safe Zone Awareness training will be conducted for Georgia Regents University staff, faculty and students on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1-3 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 30, noon-2 p.m. Both sessions will be held in GRU’s Alumni Center Garden Room.

This program, as part of a national initiative, is designed to increase acceptance and awareness of gender diversity as well as train college and university employees, students, and support services on how to create safe and inclusive environments for individuals of all sexual and gender identities.

Space for these sessions is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information, call 706-721-3967 or 706-721-9265. To register, visit  http://cmetracker.net/MCG/Login?formname=RegLoginLive&eventID=118294

Salazar talks National Hispanic Heritage Month



Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15, Georgia Regents University has highlighted some of our Hispanic students and employees.

In this video, learn more about the history of the Hispanic culture with Dr. William Salazar, Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Health Behavior in the Medical College of Georgia’s Section of General Internal Medicine.

A student’s view on National Hispanic Heritage Month

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15, Georgia Regents University will highlight first generation Hispanic college students to get a closer look at our institution’s diverse community.

This week’s Jaguar Profile features 23-year-old GRU Spanish major Yelitza Maura. Read her interview below to find out how she celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month and who inspires her most to graduate from college.

Q: What country is your family from?

 I was born in Puerto Rico. My mom is also Puerto Rican, but my Dad is from the Dominican Republic.

 Q: How does it feel to be first generation college student?

Since I am the first in my immediate family to attend college, I feel a little pressure to do well. I am also the second youngest of seven cousins. So, now that we live in the states, it is expected that we achieve more in life.

Q: Why did you choose to attend GRU?

My father is in the military and I made the decision to stay close to home when we were stationed at Fort Gordon. Besides, I do not like large schools and GRU just seemed like the perfect fit for me.

Q Are you in any student organizations?

Yes. I am the vice president for Los Amigos Hispanos, the university’s Spanish club. I am also a volunteer at Clinica Latina, one of GRU’s student-operated clinics that provide free service. As a volunteer at the clinic, I am working with two other medical students to form another organization designed to help students to be exposed to what is being offered on both campuses.

 Q: When you are not studying, what do you like to do for fun?

I love photography, volunteering, and do-it-yourself projects.

 Q: Who is your inspiration?

My grandmother has been my biggest inspiration. I will never forget how she attended college and, after the death of her husband, she raised her three children on her own. So, to see how she overcame those obstacles and still became a teacher is truly inspiring to me.

 Q: What is your favorite dish?

Rice and beans

Q: How do you and your family celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month?

Every year, our family chooses a Hispanic country and we celebrate their culture by learning how to cook their native food as well as listening and dancing to their music.

Campus celebrates Hispanic culture

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15, Georgia Regents University is hosting various events to celebrate the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

Highlighting the month of activities will be a performance by the music group Tuna Universitaria de Salamanca as well as a discussion on the Maya Heritage Community Project, an interdisciplinary program that works in partnership with Maya organizations and people of Maya heritage throughout the United States.

The presentation on the Maya Heritage Community Project will be held Wednesday, Sept 24, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Jaguar Student Activities Center Butler Room and will feature a lecture by Dr. Allan LeBaron, Director of Kennesaw State University’s Maya Heritage Community Project.

On Friday, Oct. 10, at 11:30 a.m., the highly acclaimed music group Tuna Universitaria de Salamanca will perform on the JSAC Patio. Enjoy the melodic sounds of Salamanca while band members explain the history behind their songs.

Throughout the month, the GRU community is encouraged to visit the Hispanic Heritage Month Community Blog to share their thoughts and personal opinion on Hispanic Heritage Month as well as other commentaries on the importance of diversity.

Test your knowledge about Hispanic and Latin culture by playing the online Hispanic Heritage Trivia game. The questions and categories change weekly, and a prize will be given to random participants who complete the quiz. For each correct response, the participant’s name is entered in a drawing for a grand prize at the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 15

For more Hispanic Heritage Month events, view the calendar below. For additional information, call 706-721-9265.


Wednesday, Sept. 24

Maya Heritage Community Project featuring Dr. Allen LeBaron. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., GRU’s Jaguar Student Activities Center Butler Room – Summerville Campus

Wednesday, Oct. 1

Salsa dance demonstration. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., GRU’s D. Douglas Barnard Jr. Amphitheatre – Summerville Campus. This event is free for all GRU students and employees.

Thursday, Oct. 2

Salsa demonstration. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jaguar Student Activities Center Patio- Summerville Campus. Rain location: JSAC Breezeway. This event is free to all GRU students and employees.

Friday, Oct. 10

Salsa-Rama/Fiesta highlighting Hispanic-inspired cuisine. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., GRU’s Terrace Café – Health Sciences Campus

Tuna Universitaria de Salamanca performs. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jaguar Student Activities Center Patio – Summerville Campus.

Monday, Oct. 15

Cooking demonstration with the executive chef of Sodexo.  Noon- 1:30 p.m., GRU’s Terrace Café – Health Sciences Campus. RSVP via email to Torri Lampkin at tolampkin@gru.edu

Salsa-Rama/Fiesta.  Hispanic inspired cuisine. GRU’s Terrace Café- Health Sciences Campus.

Blood drive. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., GRU’s Jaguar Student Activities Center parking lot – Summerville Campus


Ribbon cutting held for GRU Equality Clinic

A ribbon cutting officially opening the GRU Equality Clinic was held Monday, Sept. 8,  in the Interdisciplinary Practice and Research Center in the Health Sciences Building. The clinic, which will be run by health science students at Georgia Regents University and supervised by faculty, is the first clinic in the area created specifically to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.

In addition to the Equality Clinic, Clínica Latina, which serves the area’s Hispanic population, will also move to the space.


Watch coverage of the event: wjbf.com/story/26480882/new-clinic-lgbt-friendly