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Celebrating the opening of the Odehmenan Health Equity Center

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the Odeh Health Equity Center. Group of people laughing and smiling as they cut a ribbon in front of a richly colored blue, red and green mural featuring a human heart, figures and flowers.

On Sept. 13 the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement launched the Odehmenan Health Equity Center (Odeh Center), a new hub for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on UIC’s west side of campus. The new center is housed in the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago. The purpose of the Odeh Center is to help cultivate community for students, staff, faculty, alumni and neighborhood partners. This is done through education, affinity groups, events, dialogues and advocacy. By fostering this sense of belonging and partnership, our community will be better equipped to uphold health equity in our clinical practice, education and research. The first word in the Center’s name, Odehmenan — pronounced: Odeh-me-nan: (odéh (oh-debt) me (muh) nan (nan) — is a Potawatomi word that translates to, “this heart of ours.” The Potawatomi people are one of the original peoples of the Chicagoland area and one of the Three Fires Confederacy Nations, who know this area as their ancestral home.

Dean of Libraries Rhea Ballard-Thrower spoke at the opening ceremony for the Odeh Center and participated in the official ribbon cutting, remarking, “The University Library is proud to collaborate with the VC for Health Affairs and the Office of Diversity to offer space for the Odeh center and to encourage a sense of belonging for our students on the west campus.”

Library faculty members hosted a welcome and information table as part of the festivities. Associate Dean of the Library of the Health Sciences said, “We are looking forward to collaborating with the Odeh Center for projects, events, programs, and other activities to support teaching, research and patient care.”

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