Inaugural OUWB Pride Week aims for 'greater awareness'
An image of students at the Pride 2022 event in Ferndale
M2s Kevin Van (left) and Erin Mueller (center) work at the Corewell Health (formerly Beaumont Health) tent at Ferndale Pride on June 4, 2022.

A weeklong series of events planned at OUWB aims to bring greater awareness to the roots of Pride celebrations and provide personal connection to the struggles and barriers faced by the LGBTQIA+ community.

The inaugural OUWB Pride Week is set for March 26 – April 1.

The week will feature educational displays at OUWB’s O’Dowd Hall as well as several events, including panels and a trivia night. OUWB student organization Queers & Allies created and is hosting the events, with support from OUWB Diversity & Inclusion.

Kevin Van, M2, president, Queers & Allies (Q&A), said he identified a need for such an event as an M1 and has been working on it since.

“It is essential to understand the clinically relevant issues and prominent diagnoses of this underserved population,” he said. “But having exposure to the personal stories, barriers, and unique lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals are quintessential to providing exceptional and compassionate care for this community, which we will all encounter as physicians.”

Tiffany Williams, Ph.D., director, Diversity & Inclusion, OUWB, commended Q&A for leading the effort to establish the week.

“We 100 % support and encourage their leadership when it comes to creating new (diversity, equity, and inclusion) programming and we are super excited about our partnership with these student organizations,” she said.

“I believe that when people are passionate about something they want to create programming to help inform and educate others about its importance.”

‘Greater awareness’

To start, Van said he met with officials from OUWB’s Diversity & Inclusion and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council to talk about the concept of the week.

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The hope, he said, was to create a week for “OUWB specifically to showcase our support and further educate students and staff beyond what we are taught” in lectures centered on the LGBTQIA+ community.

Because Pride Month is held in June — when many OUWB students are on break or otherwise unavailable — Van said the group sought an alternative for when the OUWB Pride Week might be held.

For the inaugural version, it was decided the event would be held the last week in March. It runs in conjunction with Oakland University Pride Month — a university-wide collaboration that also presents opportunities to learn from and about the LGBTQIA+ community.

“OUWB Pride Week is meant to bring greater awareness to the roots of Pride celebrations and provide the OUWB community with a more personal connection to the struggles and barriers that the LGBTQIA+ community continues to endure as it applies to the world of medicine,” said Van.

Here is the schedule for the week:

LGBTQIA+ “Coming Out” Stories: Trials and Tribulations

Queers and Allies will host a panel of LGBTQIA+ individuals within the OUWB community and Detroit area to discuss their unique stories and difficulties of “coming out” as well as implications on health care. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Food provided.

March 28
2-3 p.m.
O’Dowd Hall
Room 204

LGBTQIA+ Trivia Night with Queers and Allies

Join Q&A for a Pride Week virtual trivia night via Zoom with your choice of a team of 3-5 people. Individuals can sign up, too, and will be put on a team with others. All events will be open to the OUWB community, including faculty and staff.

March 29
8-9:30 p.m.

Transgender Health Week Patient Panel

Join Q&A and the OUWB chapter of the American Medical Association for a transgender patient panel, where participants will be discussing trans-specific care and the barriers that still exist for the community with trans individual of diverse backgrounds. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Food will also be provided.

March 30
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
O’Dowd Hall
Room 204

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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