Last month I was surfing on the Mayo Clinic site and a very interesting announcement caught my eye...."Latinos Y Latinas Diversity Interest Group looking for tamale makers on Arizona campus"! Well, being Hispanic and loving tamales, yumyum, I looked up who was hosting this event. It was the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona Latinos Y Latinas Diversity Interest Group. I found it very enlightening that there was a "Mayo Clinic family" that got together and hosted these types of events. I further got into contact with their coordinator Elva Ortiz and interviewed her. Her are her answers to my questions.
1. When and how the group was started? Our DIG is Mayo Clinic Arizona sponsored. The Latinos Y Latinas DIG has been around for approximately 15 years or so. I have been the lead for at least 3 ½ years.
2. What the purpose and goal of the group is? Our purpose is to meet, gather and network with co-workers. We also try to give back to the community and participate in as many ways as possible and as often as possible. We do our best to include the entire MCA staff by inviting them to our events as well as inviting them to contribute when we gather items for the needy and homeless.
3. What activities/meetings you all have or organize and please include the tamale event :)? Jan, June & Nov - -Habitat for Humanities – This an ongoing volunteer project throughout the year;Transplant House Phoenix Campus- volunteer to make dinner for patients staying there;Happy hour/dinner every three to four months; Oct-Pajama/book Drive for the Pajama program – pajamas and books are given to the organization to give to children in shelters and orphanages; April-Attend the Caesar Chavez Foundation dinner; April –Attend the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Black and White Ball; May -Cinco de Mayo Salsa Challenge- Third year- held at Mayo clinic Phoenix Campus, MCA staff invited to attend. June-St. Vincent De Paul- clean-up of their warehouse; Sept -Back-to-school drive – Two separate drives –for local two elementary school whose population is primarily minorities, low income housing and extremely poor families; Sept -National Association of Hispanic Nurses- Valle del Sol Chapter-Masquerade Ball; Dec -Tamale Festival (typically around Christmas) – Unfortunately for 2009 we had to cancel because of lack of participation due to economic times.We also gather away from work when we are able. We meet for dinner, have barbecues, and go to happy hour when we can work it into our busy schedules. We enjoy one another and besides belonging to our DIG, we have become good friends.
4. How many members you have? We have approximately 40 members on our distribution mailing list, but approximately 20 regular attendees/participants. These individuals are Nurses, Medical Assistants, IT Techs, International interpreters, patient financial clerks, secretaries and administrative staff.
5. Information on how one can join the group. Simply show up to a meeting. We meet the third Wednesday of the month from 12:00 to 1:00. Or contact Elva Ortiz for further information. The DIG is not only open to Latinos – everyone is welcome to join.
6. Maybe a nice quote about the group from a member or from you. We represent Mayo in many ways and are proud to do so. We have a great time together and work well as a team, both on campus and off.
7. Any other exciting information you have on the group. The active members keep this DIG going strong and have fun in everything we do. I appreciate every single one of them. Our 2010 Kick-Off meeting was held 1/20/10. We have several events scheduled this year – Mayo-based as well as socially. We are planning to participate in the Dragon Boat Races in March along with the Asian DIG, participate in Habitat for Humanities in the Spring, our annual Salsa Challenge on Cinco de Mayo, and are in the process of planning a costume party for Halloween.
There are also Diversity groups at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Jacksonville locations which also are very participatory and have many activities if a person is intersted in joining.