QU School of Medicine awarded grant to purchase intersectional health books


Peyton McKenzie

Quinnipiac University’s Frank and Barbara Netter Library aims to use the $2,000 Collection Equity Award to purchase books highlighting systemic diversity issues in the healthcare profession.

Samantha Nunez, Staff Writer

The Network of the National Library of Medicine granted Quinnipiac University’s Edward and Barbara Netter Library a $2,000 Collection Equity Award in March to allow the Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine to purchase intersectional books on health diversity, inclusion and equity.

The new books will be marked with a label titled Diversity Equity Inclusion Belonging Social Justice and will be on the Netter Library shelves and catalog in May.

Dr. Saleh Rahman, the medical school’s associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and a professor of medical sciences, proposed the award to the School of Medicine. Rahman, who joined Quinnipiac’s faculty in September 2022, said he wanted students to look at different perspectives from people of color and understand the importance of storytelling.

“As soon as I joined Netter … one of my ideas (that) I previously did in other institutions is to create a resource for equity, inclusion, and diversity topics,” Rahman said. “And (at) the same time to create a human library where people can share their stories and become a part of the library system.”

One of the reasons Rahman thinks this initiative benefits students using Netter and Quinnipiac is because their “knowledge and skills are essential to collectively transforming an individual and an institution.”

“A comprehensive collection of books will enable our students and faculty to explore many aspects of equity-related scholarly works,” Rahman said.

As a resource guide, the books are mostly beneficial for nursing, medical and health sciences students who want to broaden their learning.

After reaching out to Matthew Wilcox, the director of the Netter library, they combined their ideas to showcase the importance of discussing issues in healthcare with patients and workers who are people of color.

“I’m excited and grateful that diversity is out there more and I feel like the books are going to help a lot and feel more inclusive for people of color,” said Yisady Mota, a first-year nursing major.

The books are based on personal experiences, critical race theories, health disparities and medical experiences. Rahman believes reading these books could teach a student about health injustice and experiences to make them better as a whole.

“Books are the most powerful tool to cognitively prepare us and motivate us,” Rahman said.

To prepare future medical students, he believes that “the better they are prepared with equity, inclusion, and diversity, the better the health outcomes for our community members and our country. Books can never die and can be passed on from generation to generation. That was the most important motivation.”

As opposed to getting medical equipment that provides skill building, Rahman said books can teach us experiences and history that isn’t shown.

Rahman began compiling books and researching how libraries at other universities approached intersectionality. With these different perspectives in mind, he and the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity expanded on creating narrative stories from underrepresented people.

Rahman said making a difference starts with having the “right information, knowledge, and skill set.”

Reading intersectional health books develops an understanding of social issues in the medical field, Rahman said. For example, medical students learn how to diagnose and treat a patient, but intersectional books could tap into how social factors like socioeconomic, age, race or location play within a patient’s narrative and affect how they are treated in a hospital.

“This can not only help enhance that level of understanding but also create a cohesive community to create a sensibility longing that we belong to in Netter…as well as QU,” Rahman said.