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HSCommunity: Gratitude and Celebration

HSCommunity is a newsletter highlighting diversity, equity and inclusion at WVU Health Sciences.

November 2023: Gratitude and Celebration

/ Court Side

As the chilly fall breeze settles around us, November brings a delightful array of holidays that center around gratitude and celebration. From cherished traditions to global observances, this month is full of cultural festivities that unite people in joy and reflection.

Native American Heritage Month (November)
Native American Heritage month is an observation of Native American culture, traditions and achievements. November was officially designated Native American Heritage Month in 1990.

Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
A day to honor the brave individuals who have served in the armed forces, Veterans Day is a time for reflection and appreciation. Communities come together to express gratitude for the sacrifices made by those who defended freedom and democracy.

Diwali (Nov. 12)
Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is celebrated by millions around the world. Symbolizing the victory of light over darkness, families illuminate their homes with earthen lamps, indulge in delicious sweets and exchange gifts. The atmosphere is a testament to the cultural diversity that makes our world so rich. Special Event: Join the School of Pharmacy DEI Committee for a Diwali celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Pylons Commons.

World Children’s Day (Nov. 20)
Dedicated to promoting children’s welfare and rights, this international observance emphasizes the importance of ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive. It’s a day to raise awareness about the challenges children face globally and to advocate for their well-being.

Thanksgiving (Nov. 23)
At the heart of November’s festivities is Thanksgiving, a quintessential American holiday dedicated to expressing gratitude. It’s a time for reflection, feasting and the warmth of togetherness.

With its diverse tapestry of holidays, November serves as a reminder of the shared human experience and the importance of coming together to celebrate, reflect and appreciate the richness of our cultures and traditions. As we navigate the festivities, may the spirit of gratitude, light and unity illuminate our lives during this special month.

Take care,

/ Court Lanham, MSW
Director of Diversity, WVU Health Sciences
Chancellor and Executive Dean’s Office

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All students, faculty and staff are invited to share their opinions and suggestions for diversity, equity and inclusion at WVU Health Sciences. Your participation will help develop strategic initiatives and plan future efforts.

Fill out the online survey.

/ Upcoming Events

Veterans Oral Health Day
WVU Dental is hosting a free oral health screening day for veterans and active guard and reserve members on Friday, Nov. 10. WVU School of Dentistry dental and dental hygiene students will offer screenings, x-rays as necessary, cleanings, simple fillings and other urgent care needs based on the determination of the provider. Schedule an appointment.

Kahoot! Game Day
All students are invited to join the LGBTQ+ Center to play a variety of Kahoot! Games on Nov. 10 from 12:30-2 p.m. at Maple House.

Honors LGBTQ+ and Allies Affinity Group Meeting
Next meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Laurel Room.

Diwali Celebration
The School of Pharmacy DEI Committee invites the Health Sciences community to a Diwali celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Pylons Commons. Enjoy cultural treats and activities and embrace a major Hindu holiday.

Center for Excellence in Disabilities Ability Grand Rounds
Aline Darc Piculo dos Santos, academic researcher at Sao Paulo State University, Bauru, Brazil, will present “How can design help to reduce the stigmatization of assistive technologies?” on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. Register online.

A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi
As the culminating event for this semester's Campus Read, Yaa Gyasi, author of “Transcendent Kingdom,” will discuss the novel and its themes of faith, science, religion and love on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.

Safe Sex Brunch
Join the LGBTQ+ Center for a brunch and learn about safe sex practices for the LGBTQ+ community on Friday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Maple House. El Didden, community member and medical student, will lead a conversation surrounding safe sex practices, consent and alternative forms of intimacy, along with an anonymous Q&A.

Born of Rebellion: West Virginia Statehood and the Civil War
This comprehensive, large-scale experience covers sectional tensions within Virginia preceding the Civil War, the violence and chaos of the war surrounding West Virginia’s formation, and the difficult aftermath as the new state struggled to forge its destiny during Reconstruction. Born of Rebellion explores this tumultuous and complex era from a wide range of perspectives, including politicians, common soldiers, women and African Americans. The traveling exhibit is located in the Downtown Wise Library.

Safe Zone Training
Join the training on Friday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. via Zoom for information on sexual orientation histories and experiences associated with LGBTQ+ communities. Register online.

Native American Studies Student Research Display and Celebration of Native American Heritage Month
Join the celebration on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Shenandoah Room. A reception with light refreshments will begin at 4 p.m. Free and open to all.

School of Music Performance: A Winter Gala
Join the WVU Choirs to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa through song on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Canady Creative Arts Center. Learn more.

Trans Safe Zone Training
Join the training on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom for basic information about transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people and communities, demographic information about the size of transgender populations in the U.S. and in West Virginia, and histories of transgender activism, as well as issues related to trans health care and transition, and trans-specific experiences with hate crimes and discrimination. Register online.

Safe Zone Training
Join the training on Friday, Dec. 6, at 11 a.m. via Zoom for information on sexual orientation histories and experiences associated with LGBTQ+ communities. Register online.

Supporting LGBTQ+ Minors: Virtual Training
This virtual training on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 12 p.m. will equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively work with and protect minors who identify as LGBTQ+. Register online.

In this session, “How to Survive at the Margins Accountable Allyship,” we will focus on how marginalized and minoritized communities experience and respond to gender-based and sexual violence, exploring culturally specific advocacy programs and practices, and what it means to be an accountable ally to survivors. This session will take place Monday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. via Zoom. Register online.

Audiology Screenings
The West Virginia University School of Medicine Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders will offer free audiology screenings to the public on the first or second Friday of each month through the remainder of 2023. Learn more.

LGBTQ+ Book Club
This book club focuses on one piece of LBGTQIA2+ literature each semester to allow you to read for pleasure at a reasonable pace. Engage in conversations surrounding mental health as it relates to the literature and building connection with one another. The group meets once a month at 4 p.m. in the Student Health Building Room 101. Learn more and register online.

Shabbat Dinners
The Rohr Chabad Jewish Center hosts weekly Shabbat dinners for all Jewish students. Learn more.

For more events, visit

/ News & Announcements

Despite initial challenges, first-generation nursing students share successes, advice for others
Being a first-generation college student comes with a host of challenges, but three West Virginia University School of Nursing students share how they paved their individual paths to success. Learn more.

WVU Nursing alumni run faith-based nonprofit to support community needs
Wellspring of Greenbrier, a nonprofit organization in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, aims to alleviate the symptoms of poverty in the community. Wellspring started in the trunk of Fred and Scarlett Kellerman's car in 2004. What was once weekly grocery handouts has since expanded to include a community center called the Day Haven. In 2022, the Kellermans were looking to retire and pass on their roles to a new generation of community caregivers. Abby and Josiah Spangler, WVU School of Nursing alumni and Greenbrier County natives, stepped up to the occasion. Learn more.

Beckley Campus nursing students form organization to support holistic health in the community
A group of undergraduate nursing students at the WVU School of Nursing Beckley Campus recently formed a new student organization focused on supporting and improving holistic health in southern West Virginia. Led by trained faith community nurse and faculty member Dr. Peggy Lambert-Fink, Faith Community Health is a new student organization on the Beckley Campus, located at WVU Tech. Learn more.