As the MGH prepares to recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May, a newly formed group of staff are working to plan events that celebrate diversity and empower the AAPI community. Embodying this year’s national theme, “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration,” the MGH AAPI Coalition will work alongside departments and groups from across the hospital on these initiatives throughout the month.

The coalition met informally for nearly two years before officially defining its objectives and solidifying its name on April 5. Close to 60 members voted to determine the group’s five pillars community, inclusion, advocacy, leadership and education – which will serve as the foundation of the coalition’s work going forward.

“This month is about creating room for community,” says Pearl Brault, executive staff assistant in the Office of Equity and Community Health and founding member of the coalition. “I hope that by bringing different groups together, we’ll be able to develop new leaders and initiatives at the MGH.”

The MGH Department of Nutrition and Food Services will be among those groups, offering a special menu at Eat Street Café on May 18. The menu will feature a variety of Asian dishes, including egg drop soup, red curry chicken breast, shrimp pad thai and more.

“It’s impossible to incorporate dishes from every Asian country, but the chefs at Eat Street Café have done an amazing job putting this together and being mindful of so many ethnicities,” says Brault.

The coalition has also partnered with the MGH General Store to stock books by Asian authors, Quilling Cards – stationary from a Vietnamese, woman-owned company in Massachusetts – and Honey Belle self-care products throughout the month of May. Book titles include “Chemistry” and “Joan is Okay” by Weiki Wong and “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong.

“It’s important that we feature art and products that are representative of our diverse patient and staff populations,” says Shannon Babbitt Hoyt, co-director and buyer for the LVC retail shops. “As we continue to work with the AAPI Coalition and other groups, we hope to stock these items year-round – not just during these celebratory months.”

The coalition shares this vision and hopes this month is only the beginning when it comes to creating a safe and welcoming environment for the AAPI community at the MGH. In the coming months, the group will continue to develop its leadership goals and recruit new members.

Staff are invited to learn more about joining the group during the MGH AAPI Coalition Meet and Greet May 3 from 5 to 8 pm. There will also be an information table located across from Eat Street Café May 6 from 1 to 5 pm where staff can sign up for both the coalition and the Inclusion Campaign Committee. View the full list of AAPI Heritage Month events happening at the MGH here.

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