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Monthly Message from President O’Connor - June 2024

Mauren O'Connor, EL Camino Health

In these incredibly challenging and heavy times in our world, we need to lean into our commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to support each other and our community. In this month’s PAU News, we reflect on the inaugural PAU Inclusive Excellence Symposium, which celebrated and disseminated research and impactful initiatives related to Inclusive Excellence thriving within our university. Additionally, we hosted our fourth Provost Colloquium, "A Rainbow of Possibilities: New Perspectives on LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Clinical Practice and Research," featuring the esteemed Dr. Kimberly Balsam.

Across Academic and Student Affairs, Provost Cameron and our academic and student leaders have been implementing initiatives and programs that uphold our commitment to inclusive excellence in these deeply troubling times. I’m grateful to our students, faculty, staff, and alums who have contributed to our efforts to support our community. A comprehensive list of these initiatives can be found at: Provost Initiatives. Some examples of these initiatives include: holding dedicated Communal Affinity Spaces for Students; creating libguides that present information and resources for the PAU community, one titled “Refugee Crises” and another titled “Large-Scale Events Trauma -- Research, Treatment, and Teaching”; ongoing connection with students who may be impacted, providing resources and continued assessment of their needs; and, increased faculty training on creating inclusive educational spaces, understanding conflict styles and strategies for critical conversations.

We also held another significant community event that underscores our dedication to mental health and community wellness. To kick off Mental Health Awareness Month in May, PAU partnered with El Camino Health to offer an in-person parenting workshop at our Mountain View Campus. The workshop, titled “Building and BOOSTing Resilience in Parenthood,” took place on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Open to the entire community-at-large, this event provided valuable insights and practical strategies to help parents build resilience in their families.

Looking ahead, despite the challenges facing our world, I am hopeful we can find moments of goodness and respite, which include this month’s events that strengthen our community ties and honor one another, as we start LGBTQ+ Pride Month and conclude our academic year with Commencement. During these times, it's essential to look for opportunities to support one another and find light where we can. PAU can lead the way in creating a supportive, inclusive environment where every member feels valued and empowered.