Kenmore, Wash. (May 18, 2011) — Bastyr University is taking unique steps to train students as unbiased health care professionals. On Wednesday, May 25, the University will offer a first-ever Human Library event at Bastyr Center for Natural Health. The event will help student clinicians explore prejudices and dispel stereotypes when encountering patients from diverse backgrounds.
While the Human Library concept is not new, the model of applying it in a medical training setting is. This library is a living, breathing group of volunteer participants, known as "books," each representing different marginalized or less familiar identities. Students will learn from and ask questions of these "books," with the goal of demystifying preconceived notions and reminding students not to "judge others by their covers."
"We are very excited about the Human Library project as an innovative way to promote diversity training for Bastyr University students," said Dan Rosen, PhD, faculty member in Bastyr University's Department of Counseling and Health Psychology and the event organizer. "Getting our students out of their comfort zones in order to become educated about marginalized and oppressed communities is the most effective way to learn, and is necessary step in their development as future health professionals."
Among scheduled "books" are people who are: HIV-positive, blind and deaf, Muslim, transgender, and non-native speakers of English. Guests were chosen based on the results of a survey asking Bastyr students to name patient groups they knew the least about.
Approximately 60 student clinicians and 15 community leaders ("books") are expected to attend. The Human Library event at Bastyr Center for Natural Health is sponsored by the Bastyr University Diversity Committee. Interested media are invited to attend the Human Library event from 5:30-9 p.m. May 25 at Bastyr Center. A reception featuring food and music will immediately follow.
About Bastyr University
Bastyr University, located near Seattle, Washington, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine. As the largest accredited university for natural health arts and sciences in the U.S., Bastyr offers more than 17 degree and certificate programs in fields such as naturopathic medicine, acupuncture & Oriental medicine, and whole-food nutrition. Founded in 1978, the University now includes a leading-edge research facility (the Bastyr University Research Institute) and outstanding clinical training at Bastyr Center for Natural Health. The University’s second campus, Bastyr University California, opened in San Diego, California, in fall 2012, becoming the state’s first and only accredited school of naturopathic medicine.