A family gathering

Daniel Kasunga, M.D., resident in the department of ophthalmology, and his guest, Marien Chiechi, speaking to Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine; Michael Mahla, M.D., associate dean of graduate medical education; and Joseph Tyndall, M.D., chair of the department of emergency medicine at the Underrepresented Minority Housestaff Reception. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

Nicole Lawrence, M.D., chuckled as she listened to a professor talk about his first day as an intern.

Lawrence, a pediatric gastroenterology fellow, and about 30 other people gathered at the University of Florida President’s House Nov. 14 for the Underrepresented Minority Housestaff Reception, an event sponsored by the College of Medicine Office for Diversity and Health Equity.

Some gathered on the patio at chest-high tables and chatted over plates of tender beef and crisp salad. Others mingled inside, where a grandfather clock stood tall and a red-and-yellow floral arrangement greeted new visitors.

Regino Gonzalez-Peralta, M.D., an associate dean for diversity and health equity and a professor of pediatrics, said the event was meant to build connections between members of UF’s diverse staff.

“It gives them a sense of family,” Gonzalez-Peralta said. “It’s nice to be able to say you have a home base of people that you share certain things with.”

While the event was about strengthening bonds, it was also about acknowledging the importance of diversity in the medical work force said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine.

Joseph Tyndall, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the department of emergency medicine, said a diverse work force creates a strong work force.

“We build diversity by strengthening those bonds across our staff,” Tyndall said.