In past years, we had heard about a Dinner in the Dark event conducted by students. We loved this idea, because it gave future healthcare professionals a chance to see health concerns from a new perspective: a first-person perspective. We wanted to let students have this opportunity this year, but with a twist. We wanted to bring awareness to a wider variety of health concerns, so we decided to highlight a different one during each dinner course.
On Wednesday evening, students slowly filed into Cook Alumni Hall. After a few minutes, we introduced the event, with a few caveats. While the idea of the night was having a firsthand experience of various healthcare concerns, we were by no means minimizing the challenges that these individuals face. And second, the message of this event was not to pity our fellow community members, but to gain a little perspective as future healthcare professionals. We began with the appetizer portion of the event. While eating samosas and papadum, students learned about developmental disabilities and gained a new perspective of these individuals. Over the main course, students used earplugs and American Sign Language Worksheets to help them communicate in silence. There were students that were fluent in American Sign Language to help people. Finally, we marked the end of the silent dinner and the beginning of the blindfolded part of the event. Participants ate Gulab Jamun and cheesecake while blindfolded. We were happy to have Dr. Erzurum (the founder of Sight for All), medical students, pharmacy students, and undergraduate students all come together for this event.
We were so grateful to be able to put together a truly new event for NEOMED students with the help of American Sign Language Club, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Club, Oncology Interest Group, Ophthalmology Interest Group, and Students for Sight. We are pleased that all proceeds from the event will go to the Make a Wish and Sight for All foundation. We hope the tradition continues in years to come!
-- Sarah Khan, M2 and Jean Pannikottu, M2