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Day of Understanding offers chance to share ideas for promoting diversity

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine will join organizations across the U.S. in a “Day of Understanding” this Friday, Dec. 7. The event is an opportunity for employees and students to share their ideas about how this organization can create a more inclusive environment at work and in the communities it serves. The overarching goal is to help make individuals of all backgrounds and experiences feel welcomed, valued and respected.

“Regardless of where we came from, what holidays we celebrate, what language we learned first or what our family portrait looks like, we all yearn for the same things in life: health, happiness, dignity, financial security, freedom, safety, and for our children to do better than we did,” said Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean, CEO and senior vice president for health affairs.

“Three years ago, Penn State Health and the College of Medicine made a promise to our patients and our people to become a more inclusive, respectful organization. Our efforts to increase the diversity of our workforce and to be more inclusive have been recognized nationally by Forbes, the Human Rights Campaign and the Military Times.”

Lynette Chappell-Williams, chief diversity officer and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, said that the Day of Understanding allows employees and students to focus on ways to strengthen diversity and overcome unconscious biases.

“We are working to create trusting environments where difficult conversations can take place and we can share stories of successes and lessons learned,” she said. “The overall purpose is to bring better results to Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.”

All employees, faculty and students are invited to share ways that Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine can become more inclusive both at work and in the communities they serve. Email ideas to

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