What does diversity mean to you?

ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues is thrilled to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development again this year on May 21. The council recognizes the importance of this day to reflect on the diversity of dental students, our colleagues and our patients. Diversity is important because it allows us to appreciate our peers’ and patients’ various backgrounds, see from other people’s perspectives and learn from each other.

To celebrate this day, we encourage you to share what diversity means to you, how your chapter honors members’ unique differences and what you do to celebrate diversity. Add #ASDAdiversity to your social media posts so other dental students can see how you’re honoring World Day for Cultural Diversity.

Here are some ways you can celebrate:

  • Spend time with people from different backgrounds. You can learn so much by asking questions about a person’s history, family and experiences. One of my favorite parts of dental school has been learning from my peers. They share stories about growing up in Taiwan, switching careers from architecture to dentistry and a father’s experiences as the first African American to graduate from our school’s endodontic residency program. We’ve spent Passover Seder together and learned to cook traditional Cuban treats. Sharing your past and hearing others’ stories is a great way to learn about other cultures.
  • Visit a museum. There are a plethora of museums celebrating cultures around the world, and many have free admission with a student ID. I love spending a free weekend day visiting a museum and learning about the different art, music and traditions that make up cultures around the world.
  • Cook a meal or visit a restaurant with a cuisine you’ve never had. I often find myself cooking the same dinners each week and eating at the same restaurants. When my friend suggested we go to a new Ethiopian restaurant for dinner last week, I was excited to try something new. It was delicious and reminded me how many cuisines I’ve never tried.
  • Read a book or rent a movie about another country, race or religion. Your school’s library or Netflix is a great place to find one.
  • Visit a place of worship that is different from your own. You can learn about another religion and spend time with people you may not otherwise surround yourself with.

Diversity allows us to recognize each individual’s unique contributions and respect each other’s differences. I look forward to seeing how each of you honors World Day for Cultural Diversity. Share your stories of diversity on May 21 and remember to tag #ASDAdiversity.

~Sydney Shapiro, Columbia ’21, Council on Professional Issues Chair

Sydney Shapiro

ASDA President Sydney Shapiro is a class of 2021 DDS/MPH candidate at Columbia University. In her free time, she enjoys biking, baking and exploring NYC.

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