By Hayat Srour

Our Strong Suit


This week’s blog is meant to shine light on the importance of diversity in the workplace. What I have appreciated in the RIPL (a.k.a. Respiratory and Immunology Project at Larkin) group is our diversity in knowledge and upbringing, which is why chose to reflect on its importance.

Diversity in the workplace comes with different members of religious, ethnic, geographic locations, gender, or racial backgrounds. How does this benefit the realm of research? Our different backgrounds allow us to approach publications, data, and new information in a holistic manner. A big fraction of our time is focused on understanding the prevalence of asthma in the Puerto Rican population. Before my pre-RIPL days, I had no idea that asthma affected Puerto Ricans. Thanks to Dr. Rivera, who is a proud Puerto Rican, we learned from his experiences and studies and sure enough we are apart of a movement focused on understanding this health disparity.


Culture plays a major role in behavior, which leads to practices in a population. Another example is food allergies, more specifically peanut allergies. Asian populations, compared to Americans, are less likely to suffer from peanut allergies and studies suggest this is secondary to the way the peanuts are boiled and fried (Read more here). Understanding of the cultural practice is proven to be essential in this case.

At first glance science may seem like the universal language of knowledge because its mere existence depends on facts that are proven by numbers, data, or even disease but the human body is a complete structure that reacts to mind and spirit. Within RIPLRT there is not a member who identifies the same but how does that affect our work? It makes us stronger.

Hayat Srour

About the author -- Hayat Srour is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Biomedical Sciences at Larkin University College of Biomedical Sciences. Hayat is also a Research Assistant and Lab Manager in the RIPL_Effect Research Team under the mentorship of principal investigator, Dr. Félix E. Rivera-Mariani. Also, Hayat is involved in one of our primary projects, in which we are addressing the respiratory health of Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria (click here for more information)