Community Reads

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2018-19 Book Selections 
Community Reads aims to explore the social determinants of health through storytelling.


For the 2018-19 Community Reads initiative, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is partnering with SMU’s Pride Committee to invite an SMU community-wide shared reading of literature and dialog related to critical issues in healthcare with the book selection: The 57 bus: A true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives. Local author, Dashka Slater, skillfully conveys the complexities of this true story of the journeys of two young people who cross paths only steps from SMU’s main Oakland campus on AC Transit’s 57 Bus.

The 57 Bus is a page turner. While the reader is riveted hearing how two high school students and their families’ lives change in a moment, we are called to examine how lifetimes inform that encounter and what comes next. Slater’s 3-year investigation and listening to the experiences of individuals, families, friends, and advocates results in a story that shines a light on implicit bias, structural inequities, social injustices, and restorative justice in relation to gender identity, racism, gentrification, class, adverse childhood experiences, and the criminal justice system. How local people and institutions respond leads the reader to challenge assumptions and consider the compassion and courage required in the process of building the beloved community we all hope is possible.

As a supplement, we invite you to read Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD & Laura A.Jacobs, LCSW (2017). “You’re in the wrong bathroom!”: And 20 other myths and misconceptions about transgender and gender-nonconforming people. This accessible book explores via brief chapters common  medical, social, psychological and political myths and realities about being transgender. The read skillfully supports development of skills needed by today’s healthcare provider to best address individual and institutional interactions with and understanding of the gender spectrum.

  Associated 2018-19 events will include:

  • Oakland author Dashka Slater.

  • Book Discussions

  • Discussions with leaders related to health and Gender identity, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), restorative justice, and safe communities.

CITATIONS: Slater, D. (2017). The 57 bus: A true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY: NY. ISBN-13: 978-0374303235 

Erickson-Schroth, L.  & Jacobs, L.A. (2017).You’re in the wrong bathroom!”: And 20 other myths and misconceptions about transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Beacon Press. NY:NY. ISBN-13: 978-0807033890



We thank the SMU Pride Committee for recommending this year's selections. 

About SMU Community Reads
Community Reads is an annual community-wide initiative centered on shared reading of literature & deep dialogue related to critical issues in healthcare. Throughout the year we will engage as a community of scholars & a community of shared conscience as we read & explore issues related to the social determinants of health and the changes we want to see. 

Criteria for Annual Book Selection

  • Addresses health disparities, health care, race
  • Published within 3-5 years
  • Compelling and interesting
  • Available teacher's guide
  • Availability of author or other relevant/authoritative speakers

Recommendations for future  SMU Community Reads' book?
To suggest a book related to health disparities to the SMU Community Reads Committee to consider, please email your recommendation to: .

Community Reads Committee

  • Shirley Strong, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Hai-Thom Sota, Director, Library
  • Marjorie Hammer, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
  • Ché Abram, Associate Director of Diversity, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Monique Pinkney, Technology Training & Development Specialist, Information Technology
  • Shawna Holbrook, Assistant Director of Admission and Diversity Recruitment, Office of Admission
  • Latricia Maddox, Adminstrative Assistant, Office of Diversity & Inclusion



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