Understanding the diversity of the human experience, which is central to becoming an empathetic health professional, is not something that can be gained from a textbook. The internationally recognized Human Library event provides students with the opportunity to hear from “living books” -- individuals representing different social, racial, and religious backgrounds, who share their stories.
This week, over 30 University students had the opportunity to meet 10 “living books” in Bastyr’s 7th Annual Human Library event at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. Led by the Center for Social Justice & Diversity, a group of dedicated student volunteers, and Bastyr graduate, Center Co-Director, faculty member, and recently appointed AANP Board Member, Safiya McCarter, ND, MSAOM, the Human Library aims to expose students to prepare them to work with diverse patients, providing a safe space for both the students and participants to be vulnerable and honest without fear or judgement.
“What I like about the event is what it represents – the opportunity to interact with people they know very little about but they know they may encounter at some point as a clinician,” McCarter shared.
Third year ND student and first time attendee, Chih-Yun Hsiung, said, “The Human Library reminded me of how we are often removed from many groups in our community, perhaps because of the comfort of staying within what we are familiar with.”
Because of the value of the perspectives and insights offered, students will attend a number of these events while at Bastyr. But “books” also continue to come back to share their lives and their unique experiences. One such individual is Cunning Minx, who has participated as a “living book” for several years.
“This event helps people understand the limits of their own experience and have a bit more respect for all different kinds of experiences in terms of health and life,” said Minx.
For more information on the Human Library project, visit http://humanlibrary.org/.
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