Meet the 2021-2022 RBI x CAP Fellows

The 2021-2022 RBI x CAP Fellows 

The inaugural RBI x CAP Fellowship cohort has been selected, and the RBI and CAP teams are excited to work with our amazing group of students. Fellows will serve as an invaluable capacity-building resource for school and institution-wide antiracism initiatives.

Throughout the year, Fellows will contribute to the existing body of antiracist work within Medical Education through nine key projects across the School:

 

Image Diversity

Curricular Affairs

Create a database collection of images of clinical conditions seen among Black and Brown individuals.

Investigating Institutional Actions

Admissions

Assist in investigating the state of institutional actions (IA) and conduct a review of the literature to determine if bias/racism impacts institutional actions

Appreciative Advising Evaluation

Student Affairs

Help to create a timely, valid, and transparent system for students to provide feedback around Appreciative Advising and the Office of Student Affairs

Navigating Patient Bias Assessment

Curricular Affairs 

Assist in developing a facilitated formative assessment for navigating racist patient behavior

Anti-Oppressive MEPO Assessment

Curricular Affairs 

Develop a comprehensive list of existing assessment tools related to anti-oppression for the new Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO)

Undergrad Database

Admissions

Create and maintain a database of URiM student organizations on undergrad campuses for admissions recruitment and create a communications strategy for outreach

Equity in Admissions

Admissions

Assist in developing the next faculty development retreat, and update the Equity Handbook for the Admissions Committee

Equity-Based Policy Review

Medical Education

Identify and collect existing equity-based policy review tools, protocols, and other best practices and determine their utility in the medical education environment

 

Leading Student Sphere

The Racism & Bias Initiative 

Oversee and monitor the change targets in the student sphere as well as oversee student involvement in Chats for Change, Orientation, and other RBI Spheres. 

Meet the Fellows

Claire Ufongene

Pronouns: She/Her

Fun fact about me: I met Chance the Rapper and D.R.A.M one time.

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

Magical mini TV that works without connectivity so I can still watch my shows, Sunscreen, and a Walkie-Talkie with a very long antenna, so I can get us off the island.

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

I’m looking forward to having a creative outlet in medical school that involves imagining ideas that will make Icahn Mount Sinai a more anti-racist and bias-conscious institution. I’m also excited to learn from those who came before me in doing this work, as well as my peers on how to make our ideas a reality!

Jerrel Cattlet

Pronouns: Him/His

Fun fact about you: I’ve never actually been taught how to use the “proper” grip for a writing utensil. I’ve always written with all five fingertips touching my pencil, and have reasonably good handwriting. 

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

  • Solar-powered water desalination device 
  • My favorite book: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib 
  • A rope hammock for chill island vibes

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

Having the opportunity to create institutional reforms that improve the lived experiences of current and future BIPOC students, residents, and faculty members at Mount Sinai. 

Don Nguyen

Pronouns: Him/His

Fun fact about you: I love exploring the world, learning about other cultures and have been to 10 different countries.

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

Sunscreen, water purifier, and… my partner? That’s allowed, right?

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

I am most looking forward to being surrounded by people who are as passionate as I am about racial equity and social justice and to see the institutional changes and impact of our work.

Paloma Orozco Scott

Pronouns: They/She (I like for people to use both.)

Fun fact about you: I’ve made and performed some performance art pieces. My favorite performance I’ve done was a two-person protest. (Ask me about it!)

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

The holy trinity: computer, iPhone, iPad. Just kidding! I love gardening and would bring seeds/cuttings, a very large stylish sun hat (your friend [me] is a sunburn-prone white Latine), and a massive magical water bottle that is always full. 

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

I’m most looking forward to the lessons I will learn from the other fellows and the didactic sessions! I feel that solidarity and coalition building are the first building blocks of anti-racist work and institutional change. I’m confident that the lessons I learn from the other fellows and my teachers will become essential parts of my life-long commitment to activism and organizing.

Francesca Silvestri

Pronouns: She/Hers

Fun fact about you: I got into doing my nails during quarantine and can do pretty nice nail art and designs. I have a whole gel lamp and nail kit in my room. 

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

A blanket because I’m not very resourceful and it can be multi-purposed, a Costco size box of Famous Amos cookies to hold me over for a bit because I’m assuming the island will not have chocolate, and my phone in the hope that I could get service. 

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

I’m most excited to learn more in depth about how Med Ed functions as its own entity and within the context of the broader health system. Additionally, I’ve worked with RBI in the past, but I am also super excited to incorporate a more formal structure for student involvement in RBI work and its change management model. 

Uchechukwu Amakiri 

Pronouns: He/Him

Fun fact about you: My favorite form of transportation is a smooth ride on my Arbor longboard.

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

An unlimited bag of Trolli sour gummy worms, my Chefman air fryer to cook the fish that I will inevitably catch, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved because no matter how many times you read that book, there is always some new theme to explore in Morrison’s writing.

What are you looking forward to most about the Fellowship?

I am looking forward to being a part of actionable change efforts while being pushed by my co-fellows to nuance and further my understanding of diversity and inclusion in the medical sphere.

The RBI x CAP Fellowship could not be possible without the leadership of Medical Education, Racism & Bias Initiative (RBI), the Center for Antiracism in Practice (CAP), our project administrators across the School, and the advocacy and dedication of our students. The Fellowship ensures that students who participate in antiracism efforts have an opportunity to be compensated for their work, and to be directly mentored by antiracism thought leaders at Icahn Mount Sinai.

“The RBI x CAP Fellowship represents a paradigm shift in the way we think about antiracism work in academic medicine. The Fellowship acknowledges for the first time that these efforts are as valuable as all our other missions – research, clinical care, and service to our communities. As we demonstrate the success of this program, I hope to see this recognition expand to include the antiracism work that faculty and staff do as well.”

David Muller, MD

Dean for Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“The RBI x CAP fellowship will allow our students to be compensated for their long standing contributions to the meaningful work we have done and continue to do to undo racism at the Icahn School of Medicine. Students have been a strong driving force for change and have been thought-leading partners since the beginning of our journey. We are so proud of their work and look forward to collaborating in this new space.”

Michelle Sainté Willis

Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education dministraion, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming our Fellows as they commence the first ever RBI x CAP Fellowship and take on a vital role at our school. If you have any questions about the RBI x CAP Fellowship, please email jay.johnson@mssm.edu.

On the Pulse: August/September

Admissions Sphere

Committee training is now complete for the 2022 admissions cycle and we are gearing up for the interview season. Our first committee development session proved to be an informative, inspiring and engaging experience for all. Relevant and timely presentations led to robust and thoughtful conversation. With members from both the MD and MD/PhD committees present we are encouraged and plan to harness the momentum to continue these sessions to learn and grow together. Learn more.

Clinical Sphere

In August, the Clinical Sphere reached out to stakeholders in the Department of Pediatrics, including Faculty, Social Workers, House Staff, Patient Representatives, Clinical Admin leaders, Nursing, and Child Life to talk about how we can help these stakeholders achieve their anti-racism goals. We have had several meetings already and will continue this fact-finding/needs assessment in the coming months. Learn more.

Student Affairs Sphere

Faculty Advisors met with incoming students at orientation and began the process of informing students about Appreciative Advising by describing the phases of the AA model to their learning communities. A timeline has been created for the faculty advisors to implement the steps of Appreciative Advising when communicating with students. This month they have focused on getting to know their students through the phases of Disarming (creating a safe, welcoming space for students) and Discovery (identifying strengths and offering affirmation).  Learn more.

Student Resources Sphere

In June, the Student Resources Sphere held a series of three equity lens workshops with staff and faculty from the medical and graduate schools. In July and August, participants will integrate techniques and strategies derived from these workshops in order to critically analyze their functional areas for equity barriers and opportunities and come together to report-out on their progress. The overarching goal of this program is to cultivate a community of practice in which participants plan and implement impactful and practical solutions that lead to lasting, equity-centered change. Learn more.

Student Sphere

We welcomed the Class of 2025 during this week’s Person-Role-System Orientation series. Additionally, we have completed the data analysis from our engagement measures added to the student council comprehensive survey. We are currently planning to disseminate the report to key stakeholders and in key spaces (i.e., Guiding Coalition, incoming and current students, Chats for Change sessions). Feedback from these stakeholders will guide next steps in strategizing interventions to address the outcomes from the report. Learn more.

Medical School-Wide

A working group composed of faculty, staff, and students has been assembled to draft a few versions of a new mission statement. Once composed, these versions will be shared with the Med Ed community for a vote. We hope to reveal a new mission statement during an upcoming town hall. 

In the past month, the Climate Survey team has completed the feedback process across all stakeholders (Medical Education and Graduate School of Biomedical Sscience workgroup), and compiled the survey questions into a master document that was delivered to the intended survey vendor. After several meetings with the external vendor, Viewfinder, it has come to light that this vendor will not meet our needs and we have been exploring other options including new vendors and hosting the survey internally. We have begun the process of pivoting and understanding logistics for all potential options an d are currently still on track to launch the survey in September. Learn more.

For more information about the on-going focused work within the spheres, check out the Change Targets tracker and our latest release of the RBI 2021 Action Update.

Racism and Bias Initiative (RBI) x Center for Anti-Racism in Practice (CAP) Fellowship for Icahn School of Medicine Students

Our mission is to support and advance the lifelong pursuit of anti-racism, equity, and racial justice as the organizing principles of medical education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS).

RBI x CAP Fellows will work closely with ISMMS leaders across all functional areas of the school of medicine and report directly to the co-Directors of the Center for Anti-Racism in Practice. Fellows will serve as an invaluable capacity-building resource for school and institution-wide anti-racism initiatives.

As a fellow, here’s what you’ll do:

While any of these activities may result in a scholarly product, the primary purpose of RBI x CAP Fellows is to expand the workforce focused on anti-racism work for the ISMMS. These are examples of the activities and projects you’ll work on.

Explore

ways of enhancing anti-racist content in the curriculum.

Serve

as a resource to students who are URiM.

Participate

on institutional committees that are focused on an anti-racist approach to clinical care, health policy, and biomedical research.

Address

emerging diversity and inclusion issues among the student body.

Enhance

diversity in recruitment and admissions.

Contribute

to anti-racist appreciative advising and the Student Affairs Learning Communities.

Join

search committees to ensure an anti-racist approach to faculty/leadership recruitment.

Organize, Implement, and Promote

intellectual, cultural and social activities through an anti-racist lens (Orientation, Revisit Weekend, etc.).

Outreach

to diverse student groups to promote inter-community dialogues and engagement.

Fellows will:

  • be closely mentored by Med Ed leadership and CAP
  • work with or be a liaison to other relevant medical school administrators, students, and partners including but not limited to the Office for Diversity & Inclusion and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • be part of a Fellows community of practice and mutual support
  • learn anti-racist and anti-oppressive teaching, facilitation, and reflection practices
  • learn leadership, communication, and conflict resolution skills
  • have opportunities to develop projects into scholarly products
  • develop the capacity to design and facilitate equity programming beyond medical school, in residency training and their professional careers
  • when applicable, manage a modest programming budget and submit required documentation to Med Ed administration
  • receive a stipend of $5,000 for every year that they serve as a fellow

Fellow Requirements:

  • Approximately 20 hours/month for the eight-month commitment.
  • Fellows may apply to renew their commitment in subsequent years, up to their full tenure at ISMMS.
  • Student on Scholarly Year may not apply for a RBI x CAP Fellowship
  • Participate in two training/program planning lunches each semester that will bring together all Fellows.
  • Complete one scheduled check-in per semester with the Dean for Medical Education.
  • Up to six fellows will be selected to participate.

Application Process

Candidates will be required to submit their CV and answer the following questions in a total of 500 words or less.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and scored by a selection committee comprising of members of the Racism and Bias Initiative Guiding Coalition (Medical Education faculty, staff, leaders, and students). The committee will also conduct one round of interviews with all eligible applicants. Each reviewer will consider your alignment with school’s vision and values, and your track record of contributions/leadership in addressing racism and bias.

What excites you about the Med Ed vision to become a health system and health professions school with the most diverse workforce, providing healthcare and education that is free of racism and bias?

Why are you uniquely positioned to participate in work to address racism and bias as a Center for Anti-Racism in Practice Fellow?

Describe a meaningful, challenging experience that you’ve had in working on diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. Why was it meaningful? How did you overcome the challenges?

Ready to apply?

Submit all applications by Monday, September 13.

On the Pulse: June/July Action Updates

Admissions Sphere

We have had a busy and productive month, with one class about to start and admissions work for the new cycle under way. We have almost all new admissions committee members trained and ready to begin. Our inaugural committee development session is scheduled for August where we will take a deep dive on important admissions topics like Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Metrics and Letters of Recommendation. We see this as a great step forward in nurturing and further developing our committee culture of thoughtful and holistic evaluation.

We have also gained momentum in the planning of our pathway retreat, where stakeholders will gain awareness of what the various programs we as an institution have to offer. With this growing collaboration we hope to harness valuable expertise and resources to best prepare the future science and medicine workforce. Learn more.

Clinical Sphere

The clinical sphere has continued to work within the pediatrics department to facilitate the Chats for Change series to normalize open dialogue about racism and bias. We have completed the two part series of chats for change and have continued discussions around requests for future sessions. We are taking an intentional pause to reflect and strategize about next steps. We are exploring and implementing a survey around chats for change experiences as well conducting a needs based assessment with our original stakeholders. Learn more.

Student Affairs Sphere

Student Affairs has collected verbal feedback from students about their advising experiences. The feedback has indicated that students are not always aware of how they can utilize their faculty advisor. We are working with Leona to create a one pager that describes Appreciative Advising so that students can learn about the advising model that we have implemented. We will also have a new Appreciative Advising “timeline” that will act as a schedule for when the different steps of Appreciative Advising should be carried out throughout a student’s time in medical school. Students will learn about Appreciative Advising in orientation so that there is more awareness around how advisor’s support students. Learn more.

Student Resources Sphere

In June, the Student Resources Sphere held a series of three equity lens workshops with staff and faculty from the medical and graduate schools. Participants will integrate techniques and strategies derived from these workshops in order to critically analyze their functional areas for equity barriers and opportunities and come together to report-out on their progress. The overarching goal of this program is to cultivate a community of practice in which participants plan and implement impactful and practical solutions that lead to lasting, equity-centered change. Learn more.

Student Sphere

We have been able to analyze the comprehensive student survey data that assessed student engagement in anti-racist efforts. We are finalizing the quantitative analysis and planning to distribute the information to key stakeholders. We are looking forward to potentially conducting qualitative analysis to supplement the quantitative data. Learn more.

Medical School-Wide

The mission statement campaign is pushing forward. The qualitative analysis of the Padlet responses has been completed and will be shared with the medical education community. During this time, we hope to partake in engaging dialogue with faculty, staff, and students. Once completed and a series of new statements are composed, we hope to reveal a new mission statement during the fall’s anti-racist town hall. Regarding the Campus Climate Survey, our team (Med Ed and GSBS workgroup) has focused on building a timeline, gaining and organizing feedback from students, faculty, and staff stakeholders across Medical Education and GSBS.

We have met with the external vendor, Viewfinder, who will conduct the survey to organize logistical details and to set deadlines for survey question delivery, and communicated and tested technological requirements with the appropriate departments. We will continue to integrate and compile outstanding feedback from stakeholders into the finalized questions to be communicated to the vendor, and will then enter the testing phase. Learn more.

For more information about the on-going focused work within the spheres, check out the Change Targets tracker and our latest release of the RBI 2021 Action Update.

The School’s First RBI Quarterly Meeting | June 2021

The Guiding Coalition recently held its first quarterly meeting for 2021, which was open to all medical school employees, faculty and students. A total of 58 attendees joined the Guiding Coalition on zoom. While the Guiding Coalition’s goal for these open meetings is to remain transparent about the progress being made towards our change targets and the challenges we face along the way, we hope that these meetings can provide an opportunity for the medical school community to feel more connected, learn how to become more involved in the Racism and Bias Initiative (RBI), and find new ways to collaborate.

Admissions Sphere

In the Admissions Sphere, steps have been taken to build upon the first change target: to reflect on and broaden the education and training of the admissions committee to continually engage in admissions work from an equity lens. During the most recent application cycle, the MD admissions committee consisted of 50 faculty members and 30 medical students and the MD/PhD admissions committee consisted of 32 faculty members and 4 medical students. All committee members attended an in-person orientation session which included trainings on topics such as unconscious bias and diversity as a driver for excellence. Additionally, the admissions sphere developed an equity handbook which has been in use for the past application cycle along with the “Time-In” to Learning tool for effectively addressing instances of racism and bias as they occur. They’ve begun gathering data surrounding the atmosphere around racism and bias amongst the committee members through the DEI form and committee climate surveys, finding that POC on the admissions committees have started to feel more comfortable talking openly about racism and bias with other committee members. In October, the admissions sphere is holding a retreat with the aim of finding more opportunities for collaboration with several pathway programs.

Clinical Sphere

In the Clinical Sphere, they have updated their change target to focus on the entire Mount Sinai Health System rather than limiting it to the Pediatrics Department. This decision was made to accommodate for increased interest and momentum across the health system after the death of George Floyd last year. Within Pediatrics, they have completed five department-specific Chats for Change including their most recent one on reporting racist events to compliance which took place in June. Their chat in July focused on alternatives to reporting. Across these departmental programs, they’ve had over 200 attendees with numbers steadily decreasing with each event.

Despite this decrease in attendance, they have committed to continuing hosting these sessions. As of February, the reporting system has received 19 compliance reports regarding racism and bias within the past 6 months. Although the cause of this spike is unclear, the number is an increase from the 31 total reports for all of 2020. Ultimately, they can see the perception of the clinical sphere changing as more sub-clinical departments are beginning to show interest in starting their own initiatives and using the sphere as a resource.

Curricular Affairs

In the Curricular Sphere, a new Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO) has been developed to address racism and bias. Set to roll out next month, the MEPO states, “Upon graduating, students should be able to demonstrate approaches to mitigate the manifestations of racism, bias, and social inequities in healthcare.” In order to fulfill this MEPO, Curriculum Affairs will assess the inventory of racism and bias curricular offerings and communicate with stakeholders about the change.

Additionally, the sphere met with ODI, national leaders, and a medical illustrator to develop a specialized patient session on navigating racist patients and/or colleagues during clinical encounters for both UME and GME. They also aim to diversify patient representation across all courses by creating a HIPAA compliant image database in collaboration with dermatology resident Dr. Krystal Mitchell-Gba and clerkship students.

Student Affairs Sphere

In the Students Affairs Sphere, we are working to adopt and support advising practices by Learning Community advisors that actively address racism and promote equity. We are proud to have developed a community of practice amongst our faculty advisors. Additionally, we have collaborated with the student sphere to collect feedback from students about their advising experiences and hope to analyze this data as our next step. We’ve also conducted faculty development training sessions on appreciative advising and crating our advising blueprint for the upcoming year. We look to continue this work by adding a new change target focused on implementing new anti-racism communication strategies for our faculty advisors to utilize with their students.

Student Sphere

In the Student Sphere, they have been focused on understanding the barriers and mediators to student engagement in anti-racist work and developing potential interventions to increase student participation in addressing racism. Thus far, they have hosted monthly racial healing circles since June of 2020, collected engagement data via the student council comprehensive survey, created the Participatory Decision-Making Guide with the MSHS task force to address racism, and facilitated collaborations between groups like Student Council and SNMA. As they begin to analyze the data from the survey, they hope that it will provide more information about student engagement, identify gaps in knowledge in the student body, quantify representation from different student categories, and serve as a baseline to examine longitudinal effects.

While much progress has been made, the students have come across challenges in promoting anti-racism as a value in medicine, increasing the visibility of our work, and maintaining student involvement. They have succeeded, however, in building a community of practice among students and creating space for conversation. They hope to continue this work by implementing healing circles for the clinical years and partnering with other medical schools on the new Anti-Racism in Medical Education program that was recently funded by the Macy Foundation.

Student Resources Sphere

In the Student Resources Sphere, we’ve developed an equity lens decision-making playbook and will be using outcome mapping to monitor the changes that result from its use. There was also work put into developing three one hour equity workshops that will be attended throughout the year by “equity champions” elected from different departments. These identified “equity champions” will attend the workshops, bring the knowledge back to their respective units, and give status update on the changes being seen during several report out sessions. It’s been challenging to implement some of our equity-based strategies as it can be difficult for individuals to pushback against the workplace status quo. Many have also voiced that they believe their individual influence is limited and they cannot directly link changes they see to our ongoing equity lens work. Fortunately, we have started to develop a community of practice and are seeing increased interest and active engagement from a diverse group people.


 

For more information about the on-going focused work within the spheres, check out the Change Targets tracker and our latest release of the RBI Action Updates.

 

This post was written by:

Kiarra Lavache

Strategy and Equity Education Summer Program Intern