Let’s embrace our differences

October 25, 2021 | by Mary Lou Mastro

What if we embraced our differences instead of feeling afraid, threatened or suspicious of them?

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month. It’s a good reminder to open our minds to the diversity in our community and take a deeper look at how we approach it.

Edward-Elmhurst Health’s team is a fantastic example of diverse people coming together with a common goal. Here, people from different cultures work side by side, creating a richer experience for their co-workers and our patients. We’re thrilled to present a new video of Edward-Elmhurst Health employees thoughtfully sharing what diversity means to them, the organization, and our patients.

The Pharmacy Department at Edward Hospital is a great example of employees representing a variety of world cultures.

The department was highlighted in a recent diversity blog about Pharmacist Kay Choi, who grew up in Korea. In it she said, “We always have fun, we have different food. I love our department. We’re from different countries, but we get along. Inside our department, they are not afraid of my ethnicity. Even though I speak broken English, they’re like, ‘It’s OK my mom speaks like that.’”

Something else Kay said in her blog resonated with me: “When I came to the U.S. there were so many different people in one country, I was amazed. The first time I talked to someone who wasn’t Korean, like really talked to someone, I was amazed. I was like, oh my gosh I can communicate, I can use my English to have a real conversation.”

“That’s why I love America. I love this freedom and everyone can live together.”

Can you imagine how hard it would be to move to a country that’s different from the one you grew up in, go to school and get a job amongst people whose native language is different than yours—and appreciate the experience? It’s all in the way you approach it.

Thinking about diversity with curiosity and positivity leads to an enriched learning experience. It’s good to combine perspectives and see things from a different point of view. We all learn something when we surround ourselves with diverse views and values.

And, frankly, we live in a multicultural society. Diversity is a reality. Embracing our differences not only helps us expand our understanding, it leads to a more peaceful coexistence.

As our world grows increasingly connected and we learn more about the people in it, it’s important to keep an open mind about cultures and people who are different from us.

I’m proud of the diversity we enjoy at Edward-Elmhurst Health. It makes our staff better, our patient care more personal.

My desire is that, in our workplace, our community and our country, we can all embrace our differences. That we can open our eyes and place ourselves in someone else’s shoes for just a moment.

Each of us is human, and we’re not that different after all.

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