USF Health kicks off multicultural week

USF Health will host Multicultural Week events at the newly opened Morsani College of Medicine in Downtown Tampa. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

USF Health is hosting its third annual Multicultural Week to celebrate the diversity around the community and university. 

Most of the USF Health Multicultural Week events will take place at The WELL at USF Health. However, this year, there will also be events at the new Morsani College of Medicine building that opened in Downtown Tampa.

This will be the first USF Health downtown Multicultural Week with five events planned at this location.

The Multicultural Week events will be held through Feb. 14 between 8:30 and 10 a.m. and noon to 12:50 p.m., with other events in the afternoon.

A new Multicultural Week mini-grant program will be offered to USF Health students. They have the opportunity to apply for a grant worth up to $250 to host their own Multicultural Week program.

According to Olivia Moon, the assistant director for Student Engagement and Wellness, USF Health is focusing its efforts on informal morning “Courageous Conversation” sessions, lunch and learns, and a Cultural Fiesta at the USF Health Museum of Art and Culture.

The topics for the event’s morning sessions include political identity and political advocacy, inclusive language and mindfulness and identity expression through art. 

Moon said participants who attend these morning programs will engage in interactive discussions as well as practice utilizing the skills learned in each session.

“We thought it was especially important to host a discussion on political identity and advocacy this year with the impending presidential election,” said Moon. “That session will be led by Dr. Karen Liller and will allow individuals to explore their own political identities, learn about hot-button political issues and form arguments to present to lawmakers when advocating for change.”

The lunchtime sessions will include topics surrounding the theme “Profiles in Courage Lunch and Learn” with Judge Jessica G. Costello as well as an “Intersectionality of Identities” panel discussion. 

The five panelists for this event include USF Health students, faculty, alumni and a representative from Metro Inclusive Health of Tampa.

“Our biggest guest speaker for the week is Judge Jessica G. Costello. She was the first black female judge appointed to the bench in Hillsborough County in 20 years,” said Moon. “She will be speaking about her own identities, how she got to where she is now in her career and her experiences working with the health care system.”

Different topics about cultural heritage and African American history month will be discussed as well.

On Feb. 13, the Cultural Fiesta will take place at the USF Health Museum of Art. This event will feature cultural cuisine and an indoor museum with cultural artifacts from around the world.

These cultural artifacts were donated by members of the USF Health community.

“For each of our events we aimed to create interactive environments where individuals can learn from one another and ultimately use some new knowledge and skills in their future careers as health care professionals,” said Moon.

The wrap-up event on Feb. 14, “What do you love about your identities?” will include an interactive reflection activity as well as prize drawings.

“We hope to make events as enticing and fun as possible, while also including intentional learning opportunities for interprofessional engagement,” said Moon.

“We also use this week as one opportunity to celebrate the students on our campus who come from underrepresented identities and groups,” said Moon. “We want them to feel heard, celebrated and to know they are assets to our community.”