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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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May 2024

We are proud to announce that in June, National Jewish Health will participate in parades for both Juneteenth and Denver Pride!


Juneteenth, is a federal holiday that commemorates when the last of the nation’s enslaved people learned that slavery had ended.

The Denver Juneteenth celebration includes a parade on Saturday, June 15 and a music festival on Sunday, June 16. National Jewish Health will participate in the parade on Saturday, June 15. The parade starts at 11 a.m. at Manuel High School. 

Sign up to walk in the parade with your work colleagues. Participation is limited and registration will close as soon as all 50 spots are full. T Shirts will be provided to all who register. 

Denver Pride

Pride Month in June is a celebration of LGBTQ+ identities and the progress made in the fight for equality. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Denver Pride. National Jewish Health will host a team to march in the Coors Lite Denver Pride Parade. The parade is Sunday, June 23 at 9:30 a.m., starting at Cheesman Park. 

Participation is limited and registration will close as soon as all spots are full. T Shirts will be provided to all who register. 

Sign Up

Sign up for one or both parades by using the buttons below or at the registration table in the Cafeteria on Wednesday between 11 a.m.  – 2 p.m.  Participation is limited so sign up soon.  Please send questions to

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Click to Sign Up




Of course, springtime has many other days and occasions to celebrate, so please visit our complete DEI Celebrations Calendar to see a full list and information on springtime celebrations.



In Case You Missed it...

This lecture (and corresponding resource) has been uploaded and is available to watch here

As mentioned by Dr. George, watch the Journal Club on Race Race and Ethnicity in PFT Interpretation here (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window)


Dealing with Patient Microaggressions

Microaggressions are those everyday brief and subtle (usually unintentional) exchanges that act as insults or send denigrating messages to marginalized groups. The terms was coined after the Civil Rights era by Professor Chester M. Pierce and revived in recent years by Psychologist Derald Wing Su. Microaggressions are usually a direct result of our implicit (or unconscious) biases. The best way to prevent microaggressions is to become aware of one's implicit biases, and then actively practice working against those biases in day-to-day interactions.

The toll that overt racism and covert microaggressions take on minoritized groups is cumulative. Often, especially with microaggressions because they are so insidious, addressing them with the aggressor can feel like an “overreaction.” Even more challenging, marginalized groups who experience microaggressions and racism are placed in a tough position to speak out about a seemingly small incident that can be viewed as insignificant, that many people worry about being perceived as aggressive, angry, or as playing the race or gender card. Some might respond by saying, “Why are you being so sensitive? I didn’t mean anything by it,” and so often, these slights go unaddressed, but their impact has still been felt.

It is important to recognize that the impact of words and actions matters more than intent, however, for marginalized groups, it's the unpacking of that intent that's been the most difficult part of processing the internal effects of microaggressions. Microaggressions can be consumed in insidious ways in our everyday interactions, so much so that we often don't know its full effects. The problems with microaggressions are that they are hidden behind coded language. This coded language affixes itself into the crevices of culture and creates a safe way to discriminate. Examples of that coded language include words like intimidating, loud, spicy, angry, emotional, volatile, unprofessional, aggressive, and private, which then translates to loaded language and feedback. These types of coded language are examples of how feedback can be aligned with stereotype threats that are generally based on your race, gender, or other differences that illicit false narratives that show up in patient practice and interaction. Coded language does not make room for you as a full individual with lived experiences.

The impact of these microaggressions is that people who experience them often feel powerless and afraid to speak out, particularly in situations when the assault comes from a patient. However, it is important to remember that even though microaggressions might seem harmless, they reinforce discrimination and prejudice. These have a big impact on your physical health, mental health, and psychological well-being, so much so that psychologists and educators have shown that stereotype threats can cause an achievement gap for marginalized groups. When a negative stereotype is associated with a certain group that a person is naturally assigned membership of because of their skin color, gender, or race, it's been shown to have an impact not only on the person's performance, but also shows how a stereotype threat can creates feelings of anxiety that have negative impacts on mental health. It's the persistence of exclusion, alienation, and discrimination over time that can affect life experience. Additionally, it can lead to provider burnout in a field that is sorely in need of greater diversification. 

Generally, there are three ways to deal with microaggression, but the theme for all encounters is to call the person "in" and not "out." Calling the offender "in" creates an atmosphere where the patient can learn, instead of becoming defensive. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Ask them for more information- This technique disarms defensiveness and allows thinking about the impact of words. Some sentence starters for this are:
    • “Could you say more about what you mean by that”?
    • “How have you come to think that?”
  • Ask probing questions that allow them to separate intent from impact and offer an alternative. A sentence starter for this is:
    • “I know you didn’t realize this, but when you ___________________ (comment/behavior), it was hurtful/offensive because __________________ (reason). Instead, you could have_________________ (different language or behavior.)”
  • Finally, you can challenge the stereotype. Some sentence starters for this are:  
    • “Actually, in my experience ________________________."
    • “That sounds like a stereotype. Is that what you mean?”
    • “Another way to look at it is________________________.”

Recognizing that patient interactions can be a little more nuanced that traditional microaggression scenarios, here are some resources that show how other providers have dealt with racist patients and microaggressions in the past. 

Finally, know you are not alone, and that you are not being sensitive or over-reacting. Microaggressions are known as "death by a thousand cuts"  for a reason, and unless we can address them in the moment, they will most likely continue. Recognizing that sometimes we just need to be heard and affirmed, the department of DEI offers "Healing Circles (Opens in a new window)" as way to try and unload some of the lasting impacts of microaggressions. This is a safe space to talk and listen to others who have similar experiences. If you are interested in scheduling a healing circle, fill out a form here.

~Tessa O'Connell M. Ed/Ed.S

DEI Articles, News and Resources

AAMC Deeply Disappointed by SCOTUS Decision on Race-Conscious Admissions (Opens in a new window)

LGBTQ+ Health Updates (Opens in a new window)

  • This is a wonderful resource to learn more about gender affirming care, stay up to date on the most recent news and research surrounding LGBTQ+ persons, and learn more on inclusive care and practices. 

Creating a Trans Inclusive Workplace (pdf)

  • Learn how to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees, regardless of their identity. 

The Economics of Thinness (pdf)

  • Women may have broken the glass ceiling, but other forms of discrimination begin to arise as a way to continue the marginalization of women in the professional world.

21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (Opens in a new window)

  • This 21-Day Challenge concept was conceived several years ago by diversity expert Eddie Moore, Jr. (Opens in a new window) to advance deeper understandings of the intersections of race, power, privilege, supremacy and oppression. The goal of the Challenge is to assist each of us to become more aware, compassionate, constructive, engaged people in the quest for racial equity. The Challenge invites participants to complete a syllabus of 21 short assignments (typically taking 15-30 minutes), over 21 consecutive days, that include readings, videos or podcasts. It has been intentionally crafted to focus on the Black American experience. The assignments seek to expose participants to perspectives on elements of Black history, identity and culture, and to the Black community’s experience of racism in America. 

What Are Pronouns? And Why Do They Matter? (Opens in a new window)

  • In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to us using pronouns when speaking about us. Often, when speaking of a singular human in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied -- such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl. These associations are not always accurate or helpful.

Trans Tips for Allies (PDF graphic) (Opens in a new window)


Submit a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Form

DEI Issue, Suggestion, or Question

Request for DEI training

Statement of Diversity

In the DEI, we acknowledge that: 

  • No one has all the answers (especially us)
  • In difference, there is strength
  • DEI work is never done
  • DEI is ever-evolving and changing, and as a result, so is our relationship with it
  • We are all learners in DEI and must learn from one another

We constantly strive towards positive DEI change and never intend to harm or insult purposefully.Therefore, it is vital for us to know when we do accidentally engage in macro or microaggressions. So, please email (or fill out our anonymous feedback form here!) to let us know if our unconscious biases get in the way of this good work, or even if you have any other ideas, suggestions, questions, or issues. 

Thank you! 
Tessa O’Connell
Director of DEI and Leadership Development