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U-M to screen diversity documentary with dental school connection

Hussain Haider and Dr. Sherry Mirafzali in a clinic at the School of Dentistry before Haider graduated last spring.

Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 26, 2018 -- A documentary film about diversity that was produced by a School of Dentistry faculty member and features a former dental student will be shown during the University of Michigan’s 2018 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit Week.

“Me – ‘The Other’ ” will be shown twice on Friday afternoon, Oct. 12, during the final day of week-long diversity summit. Screenings are from noon-2 p.m. in Auditorium B of Angell Hall on central campus and from 3-5 p.m. in Dow Auditorium at the Towsley Center on the medical campus. The film will be followed by a discussion with cast, crew and a diversity panel.

The documentary, which premiered at the Michigan Theater in January, tells the stories of 12 students from the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College. It explores the sometimes overt and sometimes subtle prejudices of being “different” in a community or society because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, immigrant status or other elements of personal experience. The students discuss how their lives have been shaped by the perceptions of others and how they have overcome difficulties to move forward in their education, careers and lives.

The film was developed and co-produced by adjunct faculty member Dr. Shahrzad (Sherry) Mirafzali.  One of the students featured in the film is Hussain Haider, a former dental student who graduated last spring. Haider, a native of Pakistan, recounts his adjustment to this country after his family moved to New Jersey when he was 13 years old.

The documentary was filmed at the three campuses and numerous locations around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Scenes of Haider with some of his classmates at the School of Dentistry are part of the film.

Mirafzali said she hopes for a large turn-out from the School of Dentistry community -- both those who missed showings earlier this year and those who would like to see the film again. For more about the origins and theme of the film, see coverage posted on the School of Dentistry website when the film premiered at the Michigan Theater in January.

The university’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit Week opens Monday, Oct. 8, with a Community Assembly and Discussion at the Power Center for the Performing Arts from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.  President Mark Schlissel and other senior leaders will be joined by Diane Guerrero, an award-winning actress, social activist and author from the acclaimed television series Orange is the New Black. The discussion will be moderated by Leonard Pitts Jr., a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes for the Miami Herald and is reprinted in newspapers across the country. Following the launch of U-M’s five-year DEI Strategic Plan in 2016, the university has held the DEI Summit each of the last two years as an opportunity to provide updated information on DEI issues. The complete schedule of events for this year’s summit is available on the university’s DEI website.

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.