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Department of Medicine shares diversity news for August and September 2022

About the Department of Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

The mission of the Department of Medicine’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council is to be a resource and advocate for all issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion within the Department of Medicine.

The council strives to foster an organizational change that creates, promotes and nurtures the value of a multicultural environment and varied perspective to serve Penn State Health’s missions.

It also strives to build collaborations and bridges with communities in the region as the Penn State Health family expands in central Pennsylvania.

As part of that mission, the council has created a monthly newsletter. This is the Summer 2022 edition.

Council’s Corner

Welcome to the fifth edition of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Newsletter! In this issue, we are proud to announce the introduction of our Microaggressions, Unconscious Bias and Upstander Education (MUBUE) pocket cards. We also highlight upcoming diversity-related events, share some cultural and religious observances in July, August and September, and explore the racist origins of common terms such as “blacklist” and “gypped.”

Thank you, as always, for your unwavering support of our mission. Please enjoy our fifth issue.

Department of Medicine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council members:
Ayesha Ahmad, MD; Glenn Buchberger, MD; Alia Chisty, MD, MS; Nasr Ghahramani, MD, MS; Stephen Henderson, MD (Council Chair); Karen Krok, MD; and Ify Ndukwu, MD, MBA

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Ongoing Initiatives

MUBUE pocket cards Expand answer

We are thrilled to share that our Microaggressions, Unconscious Bias and Upstander Education (MUBUE) pocket cards have been provided to DOM Division Chiefs for distribution! The MUBUE pocket cards have been in the works since the council’s founding and we are so proud of the final product.

Please see the joint announcement from Dr. Stephen Henderson, Council Chair, and Dr. Thomas Ma, DOM Chair, about the introduction of our MUBUE pocket cards – and feel free to reach out to your Division Chief if you would like to receive one!

Dear colleagues,

The Department of Medicine’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council continues to work toward driving an organizational change that creates, promotes and nurtures the value of a multicultural environment and varied perspectives. As part of that goal, council members began discussing in 2020 the importance of diversity-related education initiatives that focus on microaggressions and implicit bias, which can lead to discrimination in the workplace.

Penn State Health introduced online introductory Microaggressions, Unconscious Bias and Upstander Education (MUBUE) training on a systemwide basis in 2021, an effort that resonated with the council’s mission. Council members sought to take this training one step further and condense this vital education into a pocket-card format, so that anyone in the Department of Medicine – from learners to physicians – could have MUBUE resources at their fingertips.

Over the course of many months, the council worked on developing the content for these pocket cards, an effort spearheaded by Drs. Glenn Buchberger and Ify Ndukwu. The idea is that this 2-sided card will help the user understand what a microaggression, upstander and implicit bias is; give the user ideas on how to respond to observed microaggressions in the workplace; and help the user to prevent their own microaggressions and eliminate their own unconscious biases.

We are thrilled to introduce our MUBUE pocket cards to the DOM. They will be distributed to Division Chiefs, who will provide them to their divisions. We encourage you to keep these pocket cards within close reach. If you witness a colleague or patient expressing bias or discrimination toward another individual, please reference these cards to guide and embolden your response. By responding to microaggressions and evaluating your own behavior, you can help us drive discrimination from the workplace one interaction at a time.

With our MUBUE pocket cards, we are putting the possibility of change into your hands.

Thank you for your support of our mission to create a more welcoming, equitable environment for all!


Thomas Y. Ma, MD, PhD
Chair, Department of Medicine
J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Medicine


Stephen Henderson, MD
Medical Director, Cocoa Outpatient Medical Center
Vice Chair, DOM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Diversity Grand Rounds Expand answer

Our Diversity Grand Rounds series began in September 2020 with a roundtable discussion celebrating Women in Medicine. Other presentations and panels focused on the experiences of Hispanics/Latinx in Medicine as well as medical conditions and health disparities in the Black community.

Our most recent Diversity Grand Rounds took place on March 1, 2022. Drs. JJ Nunez, Alia Chisty and Dwight Davis led an extremely informative and impactful presentation on “Addressing Structural Racism in Academic Medicine” that is available to watch on Mediasite at this link.  Special thanks to all of our Diversity Grand Rounds speakers!

We also encourage everyone to revisit our previous Diversity Grand Rounds recordings on Mediasite. Presentations available include:

The Division of Hospital Medicine also sponsored Grand Rounds on June 22, 2021, featuring a presentation from Dr. Henry Ng with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who discussed “COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ Community: Promoting Health and Health Equity.” Click here to rewatch this session.

See previous Medicine Grand Rounds presentations on Mediasite
(Penn State Health ePass login required)

Community Engagement and Outreach Expand answer

Stay tuned for details about upcoming health fairs and free community clinics!

Event of the Month

Upstander Cafes

7–8 a.m., 12–1 p.m. or 5–6 p.m. Aug. 5

Learn how to stand up to microaggressions and bias and create a more welcoming workplace at Penn State Health. Our Virtual Upstander Cafés are an open and safe space where you can role-play successful ways to be an upstander instead of a bystander against everyday prejudice.

We are now offering three different time frames every 1st Friday of the month: 7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Hosted by the Penn State Health Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

See details and register here

Cultural Corner: Recent Holidays, Observances and Celebrations

July 9-10: Eid al-Adha Expand answer

The Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha honors the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. The date varies from year to year, but Eid al-Adha began on the evening of July 9, 2022, and ended in the evening on July 10, 2022.

Source: Parade

Aug. 6-7: Tisha b’Av Expand answer

Tisha b’Av is a traditional day of mourning in Judaism for the destruction of the First and Second Temples. From sunset to sunset, a 24-hour fast is observed, except by Reform Jews. Many Jews visit the cemetery on this day. If Tisha be-Av falls on the Sabbath (“Black Sabbath”), the observance is postponed one day. Tisha be-Av marks the end of a period of mourning called the Three Weeks.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Aug. 18: Krishna Janmashtami Expand answer

Janmashtami is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth (janma) of the god Krishna on the eighth (ashtami) day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September). The number eight has another significance in the Krishna legend in that he is the eighth child of his mother, Devaki.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Sept. 25-27: Rosh Hashanah Expand answer

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls during September or October.

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion.


Personal Reflection, Narratives, Short Stories and Poetry

This newsletter welcomes creative writing submissions from physicians, faculty, staff and students! Send ideas and completed works to Jessica Bogard at

Other Diversity Initiatives and Projects

Recommendation on race-free equation for eGFR calculation at HMC Expand answer

Please note that effective June 28, 2022, the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine will use the NKF-ASN Task Force-recommended CKD-EPI 2021 race-free equation for eGFR calculation at HMC. This is terrific news and represents another step toward health care equity. For more information, please see the September 2021 report from the National Kidney Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology Task Force on Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Diseases, which outlines a new race-free approach to diagnose kidney disease.

Inclusion Matters: Monthly diversity e-newsletter connects real-world events with employee experiences Expand answer

Learn how current events connect to the employee experience and get insight into what Penn State Health is doing to advance its diversity goals in the monthly e-newsletter, Inclusion Matters, published by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Read July’s e-newsletter, which features commentary from Lynette Chappell-Williams, vice president and chief diversity officer, on the loneliness sparked by the pandemic, discrimination based on resume details and more.

Check out Inclusion Matters editions from earlier this year:

  • June
    Diverse pathways program; supporting gender-affirming care
  • May
    Diversity at the leadership level; disability etiquette
  • April
    Reducing bias; new program manager for disability and inclusion
  • March
    Women in the workforce; creating an inclusive workplace
  • February
    Disability Inclusion Advisory Council created; Changemakers explore bias and microaggressions
  • January
    Religious diversity; how demographics are reshaping health care

Sign up now to start receiving the monthly Inclusion Matters e-newsletter in your inbox.

Words Matter Expand answer

What we say can have a negative and harmful impact, even if we don’t intend to send the wrong message or don’t even realize that we’re speaking insensitively. In this section, we’ll highlight words that should be avoided, if possible, due to troubling histories or origins.

Black sheep, blacklist, etc.

Even though some terms like “blacklist” and “black book” originated in America during the start of slavery in the 1610s, using the color black to denote something bad is part of languages around the world. Languages including Korean and Finnish utilize this phenomenon known as “productive compounding.

An article published by Frank Houghton and Sharon Houghton discussing racist language in the medical field cited that the word “blackness” has 120 synonyms. Of these, 60 are distinctly negative, with none being positive. Meanwhile, the word “whiteness” was reported as having 134 synonyms, with only 10 having any negative connotations.


“Gyp,” “Gypped,” “Jip” and “Jipped”

When we feel shortchanged, cheated or swindled, we might say we’re been “gypped” out of something. This one is racist because it’s tied to the term “gypsy,” an offensive term used to refer to the Romani people, who’ve long faced discrimination because of their darker skin and were even enslaved in some parts of Europe.

Source: The Huffington Post


Upcoming Events Expand answer

We will highlight Department of Medicine-specific events in the future.

Inclusion Academy Events

The Inclusion Academy is an educational program organized by Penn State Health’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that focuses on providing cultural knowledge and an understanding with the goal of providing culturally responsive patient care to diverse and marginalized communities. The sessions are offered throughout the year and are separated into categories that benefit various audiences and are designed to foster cultural excellence in all facets of our organization.

Dimensions of Diversity: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

12–1 p.m. August 11

Dr. Alain Looti will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic affected diverse populations differently. You will learn about the disparities created by the pandemic and how different populations struggled to navigate through this time.

See details and register here

Additional diversity-related events and webinars

Upstander Cafés

7–8 a.m., 12–1 p.m. or 5–6 p.m. Sept. 2

Learn how to stand up to microaggressions and bias and create a more welcoming workplace at Penn State Health.

Our Virtual Upstander Cafés are an open and safe space where you can role-play successful ways to be an upstander instead of a bystander against everyday prejudice.

We are now offering three different time frames every 1st Friday of the month: 7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.

See details and register here

Penn State Commission for Women Book Club Discussion: “His Only Wife” by Pease Medie

12–1 p.m. Aug. 19

Penn State Commission for Women will meet on the third Friday of each month throughout the academic year via Zoom to discuss books of interest.

See details and register here


Previous Issues

You can read through previous issues of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Newsletter below:

Contact the Newsletter Team

Lead editor: Jessica Bogard (

Co-editors: Dr. Karen Krok ( and Dr. Nasr Ghahramani (

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Dr. Karen Krok next to one of Dr. Nasr Ghahramani

Dr. Karen Krok and Dr. Nasr Ghahramani

With questions or suggestions for this newsletter, email Jessica Bogard at

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.