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Sunday March 28- Monday March 29 is Holi, the annual spring festival of colors. Holi is celebrated on the day after the spring full moon on the Hindu calendar. It is observed by many who live in, and those who trace their roots to South Asia. Traditionally, during Holi, Hindus attend a public bonfire, spray friends and family with colored powders and water, and generally go a bit wild. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and the end of winter. For many it is a day to enjoy, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. Last year, in early March, days before the COVID shutdown, we celebrated Holi at a local Indian restaurant. I look forward to being able to do this again. Although I was quite reserved in the face painting ritual, I would now be much more uninhibited to celebrate Holi.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021 is the first night of Passover, the weeklong Jewish holiday that celebrates the re-telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt. On this holiday, Jews eat unleavened bread (matzah) to recall when they left Egypt in haste – before the bread had time to rise. The Passover Seder begins by welcoming anyone who is hungry. There are frequent reminders to the participants that through their ancestors, they too were slaves in the land of Egypt. Even though that was more than 3000 years ago, the story of the Exodus resonates with all free people and those who are still striving for freedom and civil rights. The Seder concludes with the remembrance of the meaning of freedom in each generation: “No one is free unless all are free.” This is the second Passover during COVID. Extended families may choose not to travel but rather to unite by Zoom with all of its technical potentials, e.g., “Uncle Harry you’re still muted.”

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Looking for better economic opportunities, Greek immigrants began to arrive in Birmingham in the 1880s. It is debatable who the first Greek immigrant to the state was. By some reports, it was George Cassimus in 1884. Other accounts suggest it was John Kalamares in 1883. Cassimus is also thought to be the first person to start a Greek-owned business, Fish Lunch House (c1902). 

In the new documentary “Philoxenia,” Birmingham filmmaker and UAB graduate Jessica Chriesman highlights how Birmingham’s Greek immigrants have shaped the hospitality industry with restaurants such as The Bright Star, Gus’s Hot Dogs, Ted’s Restaurant, Demetri’s BBQ, Johnny’s Restaurant, and The Fish Market. 

Tamera Coyne Beasley headshotWEBTamera Coyne-Beasley, M.D., MPH, professor and division director in the Division of Adolescent Medicine and vice-chair for Community Engagement, has been elected to the American Pediatric Society (APS) Council. Dr. Coyne-Beasley will serve as council member from 2021 to 2026. She joins Wally Carlo, M.D., professor and division director in the Division of Neonatology, who is also on the council and will end his term in 2024.

During the summer, the Department of Pediatrics issued a statement in support of our Black residents, fellows, students, faculty, and staff as national headlines called our attention to racism affecting the Black community.

This week we are reminded of the horrendous impact racism has on people of Asian descent in this country. While there is uncertainty about whether the violent attacks in Atlanta that left six Asian women dead were racially motivated, what is clear from the report released this week by the Stop AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Hate Center is that Asian Americans are being targeted by anti-Asian bias. Over the last year, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center has documented 3,795 incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans. These acts of discrimination include verbal harassment, physical assault, and civil rights discrimination. They create a dangerous environment that leaves many Asian Americans vulnerable. Simply put, this is unacceptable.

Jester Traci 2016WEBTraci Jester, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, has been invited to serve as a member of the Clinical Committee for ImproveCareNow.

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March is Irish American Heritage Month

Irish American Heritage Month was established in 1991 to recognize the contributions made by Irish immigrants in the creation of America. The heritage month is held in March to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day which is celebrated each year on March 17. This day of celebration originally began as a religious holiday to honor Saint Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century and is the patron saint of Ireland. The celebration is held on March 17, the supposed date of his death. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1762 and the holiday has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.

Irish American Heritage Month celebrates the nearly 31 million Americans with Irish ancestry and the contributions and impact that generations of Irish Americans have made to build a better America.


Below are some resources, articles and events to celebrate Women's History Month.

Virtual Events at UAB during March to celebrate Women's History Month
National Women's History Museum Daily Resource Calendar

Women's History Series from the School of Medicine
For Women’s History Month, the School of Medicine is showcasing the intelligence, compassion, and creativity of women who have come before us and who are currently paving the way for the next generation.

Part 1: Celebrating the women who have come before us

Part 2: "Women Making History" in teaching and education

Part 3: "Women Making History" in research and clinical areas

LinkedIn Learning March Challenge: Celebrating Women
March is Women’s History Month. Throughout the month, LinkedIn Learning will explore gender bias, its impact, and how to support & empower women at work. Challenge yourself to participate every day – each one takes ~5 minutes or less.

Durant NefertitiWEBNefertiti Harmon Durant, M.D., MPH, associate professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, has been named co-chair of the Education & Advocacy Subcommittee for the Women & Girls Bleeding Disorder Learning Action Network (WGBD LAN) of the Foundation for Women & Girls with Blood Disorders.

The UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation and Children’s of Alabama has been accepted into the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), a unique clinical trials consortium focusing on personalized therapy approaches for children with malignant brain tumors.