‘Night of Inclusion’ Celebrates Diversity at PCOM Georgia


October 9, 2019

The dinner is part of several events being held during the month of October to bridge cultural differences.


Masa’ il khayr, erev tov, buenas noches, habari za jioni, baraka da yamma, sham bakhair, good evening. Diversity Council member Phillip Palmer, PT, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, welcomed the PCOM Georgia community to a “Night of Inclusion” in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Swahili, Hausa, Urdu and English.

He said, “Tonight we celebrate the thing that binds us together, our humanity, and the differences that provide color and texture in the tapestry of life.”

Hosted by the President’s Diversity Council, the LGBQTIA Council, and the Office of Diversity and Community Partnerships, the evening events were a celebration of diversity and also part of PCOM Georgia’s recognition of LGBT History Month.

Aisha DeBerry, JD, director of diversity and community partnerships at PCOM Georgia, said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance.”

Alumni also addressed the participants.

Barbara Joy Jones, DO ’14, a family physician and the vice chief of primary care at Northside Hospital, said, “I’m happy to see the League of Nations here.” A lead physician of a primary care group in Peachtree Corners, she encouraged attendees to believe in themselves and pay it forward by making it through their programs, despite the difficulties.

“There’s a reason why you’re here,” she said, “And it’s on you to take care of yourselves and finish.”

Radiologist LaDawn Hackett, MS/Biomed ‘08, MD, a graduate of the biomedical sciences program at PCOM Georgia who continued her education and training at the Medical College of Georgia and Emory School of Medicine, told students, “I know the walk you are taking. It’s definitely worth it.”

She added, “The biomedical sciences program is where I got my confidence back—test by test—and I learned how to study. After I finished here, I had options.”

“Soak it up, get to know the faculty and staff,” she said.

Attendees enjoyed Indian, Jamaican, Korean and Mexican dishes while a DJ played a wide variety of dance music. They then visited affinity tables, such as interfaith, African American, first generation and veterans, to converse, share experiences and learn from others.

Other events in honor of LGBT History Month have included a transgender health session on October 1. Featured speakers were Anne Koch, DMD, and Anna Lisa Deranthal, MS, who discussed transitioning after gender reassignment surgery. Koch, the author of It Never Goes Away: Gender Transition at a Mature Age, is an endodontist and the founder and past director of the postdoctoral program in endodontics at Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

Deranthal works with those experiencing gender identity issues and assists transgender people through the transition process. She received her degree in professional counseling from Georgia State University.

National Coming Out Day will be recognized on campus with an event on October 11. Library and Student Affairs resources will be available and sign-ups for PCOM Safe Space training will be encouraged. Hosted to raise awareness of the LGBT community, the event is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Community Partnerships and the LGBTQIA Council.

PCOM Safe training will take place on campus October 17 and 24. Open to all students, faculty and staff, the one-day training promotes acceptance and awareness of gender identity and sexual orientation within the PCOM community.

Off campus, the LGBTQIA Council will provide resources at the Atlanta Pride Festival on October 12 and 13. The Atlanta Pride Committee is a non-profit organization for the LGBTQ community and hosts an annual parade and festival in October.

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About PCOM Georgia

Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.

For more information, contact:

Barbara Myers
Public Relations Manager
Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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