WINGATE — Healthcare professionals can become JEDI warriors by advocating for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion when they serve their patients and clients. That’s the message that a panel of Wingate University occupational therapy students, led by Caty Miller, hopes to share during an online Lyceum event Tuesday, Nov. 16, starting at 7 p.m.

As the cultural leadership intern for the University’s Collaborative for the Common Good, Miller says, she has “the opportunity to think about culture on our campus and why it’s important to me.” She is also the social coordinator for the Wingate chapter of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity, and enlightening conversations and experiences in both roles have challenged her to think deeply about “why diversity matters, why we should seek justice, and what is the difference between equity and equality.”

“Throughout our OT course work, I have become more aware that occupational therapy is a white-female-dominated field, and we as OT practitioners are not representing the population of the U.S.,” Miller said in an interview with WU communications. “I recently learned that patients feel more comfortable when their healthcare provider is race-congruent, and all of these thoughts came together to inspire this Lyceum.”

Fellow OT students Cory Leonard, Isabelle Porter, Alisha Woodside, Mackenzie Lewis and Mahammed Zogaj will join Miller to discuss the importance of being practitioners who embrace justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. They will also share their paths into OT and ways that they believe these principles can be brought into all practice areas of healthcare.

Miller said anyone pursuing a future in healthcare will benefit from attending the panel discussion.

“The general public can benefit as well, because they will learn what JEDI is, why it matters, and possibly think more about how they want to be treated by their healthcare practitioners,” she said.

Miller said the panelists will take up a case study at the end of the session and hopes to have students from all of Wingate’s health sciences take part in the Zoom meeting, in order to create inter-professional collaboration.

“Parts of the lyceum will be from the OT perspective, but we as panelists will be taking a general healthcare view,” she said.

Tuesday’s hourlong event, a Growth Lyceum titled “How to be a JEDI: Why Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Matter in Healthcare,” begins at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Students will receive the Zoom link when they RSVP for the event via the Corq app. Members of the public may email Antonio Jefferson at a.jefferson@wingate.edu to have the Zoom link emailed to them before Tuesday’s event.