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.


ways of enhancing anti-racist content in the curriculum.


as a resource to students who are URiM.


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


emerging diversity and inclusion issues among the student body.


diversity in recruitment and admissions.


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


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.).


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

On the Pulse: May Action Updates

On the Pulse: May Action Updates

Admissions Sphere

The Admissions sphere has been engaged in analyzing data to inform our work moving forward. With upcoming committee training sessions, we will continue to build upon conversations with veteran members and onboard new members to our culture of self-reflection, learning and holistic review. We continue to gather information about the many different pathway programs in our institution, both known and newly discovered, so we are able to come together and learn together how we can best serve our scholars, students and prospective applicants. Learn more.

Clinical Sphere

The clinical sphere has continued to work within the pediatrics department to facilitate the Chats for Change series and normalize open dialogue about racism and bias. We have completed the first part of the two part series and have the second scheduled for June with additional sessions pending. The second session is in collaboration with the Compliance Office to discuss reporting and options. Based on feedback, we are considering holding a third part to the peds chats for change dedicated to alternative actions/solutions to reporting racism/bias. We are gathering data through surveys and outreach around case examples. We are also starting to explore additional departments that are interested in working with our sphere (ex. Neurology). Learn more.

Student Affairs Sphere

The Student Affairs Sphere conducted a month-long faculty development on appreciative advising. The group explored their own identities and how they impact the advising relationship. The group engaged in breakout work exploring each of the phases of appreciative advising: disarm, discover, dream, design, delivery, don’t settle. For each phase, the groups discussed features, good better, and best practices, reviewed an illustrative case, and described best practice advising questions, how to facilitate student growth, what ways this could be implemented via email, what tools or supports would be needed to achieve the “best” features of this phase, and what considerations might be different for a URM student. The groups debriefed and created an approach to best practices to inform a new model of equitable advising. A writing group is drafting a manuscript on the best practices of appreciate advising for building an anti-racist model in Student Affairs. Learn more.

Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources Sphere has held two of three equity lens workshops with participants 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. After the third workshop, we will cultivate a community of practice in which they think through impactful and practical solutions that lead to lasting, equity-centered change. Learn more.

Student Sphere

The Student Sphere is awaiting results from the student comprehensive survey to analyze and disseminate the results. We have met to discuss best strategies and practices to disseminate the results, including disseminating quantitative data, planning to clarify the results through qualitative interviewing, and identifying next steps with key stakeholders. We have also begun discussions around orientation programming for the incoming MS1 class to provide a foundation of ways to engage in anti-racist work in their medical education. Learn more.

Medical School-Wide

Our mission statement campaign has entered the next stage. The data collected from the Padlet has been shared with an external expert. Once analyzed, the data will be shared in a community-wide forum to allow for reflection prior to the creation of a revised statement. 


The culture survey planning is underway and on schedule! The planning group has identified the core questions that will be included in the staff, student, faculty and postdoc surveys that will be administered in the medical school and the graduate school. Workgroups are starting to review the proposed core questions to provide feedback and identify additional questions of interest. 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 April 2021 Action Update.

On the Pulse: April Action Updates

The Curricular Affairs Sphere aims to promote personal growth in antiracist knowledge and skills among course and clerkship directors. We developed this change target in partnership with students and faculty. 

The first steps included conducting focus groups and structured surveys of course and clerkship directors. This process helped us identify existing strengths and areas for growth as well as opportunities for and barriers to growth in antiracist knowledge and skills.

We then began to work systematically with course and clerkship directors to help meet immediate needs while also gathering data on barriers to growth. So far, efforts have included:

Admissions Sphere

The Admissions Sphere continues to expand upon conversations associated with our new change targets. We have enlisted the expertise of the Institute for Medical Education team for faculty development as well as the Student Affairs team to create a collaborative approach to review student outcomes and how they inform our Admissions work. We also continue to engage, discuss and collaborate with students on our shared commitments and efforts in Admissions. Moving forward we plan on communicating with our larger Admissions Committee members to re-engage and re-energize as one application season winds down and another is on the horizon.

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. To increase awareness and the reporting of racism and bias we have added a two part workshop to the series (first part on 4/30/21) that will provide additional education around identifying racism/bias and the compliance hotline.  Leading up to this workshop, we are sent out a survey to elicit case examples of racism and bias in the clinical environment from members of the department. These cases will be used for the Breakout Group discussions, so real-life examples can be discussed. We have created a communication plan on how to better inform members of the Department of Pediatrics and other involved parties of our updates by identifying point people/stakeholders who can distribute emails with updates.

Curricular Affairs Sphere

The Curricular Affairs Sphere has met with affinity group students and community leaders around the proposed Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO) that focuses on the development of medical student knowledge, skills, and attitudes around mitigating bias and racism.  For April, faculty, staff, and leadership within Med Ed will be asked to provide feedback.  The goal is to launch the new MEPO for the 2021-22 academic year.  The Curricular Affairs Sphere is continuing to develop a comprehensive inventory of all current curricula on race and racism, with the intent of identifying thematic threads and ensuring they all have theoretically sound educational frameworks.   Next steps include identifying gaps and redundancies.

Student Affairs Sphere

We have met with the Student Sphere to build a stronger working relationship between our spheres. They were able to provide us insightful feedback about how we can solicit feedback from students regarding advising practices which will help us to know if our change target is making a positive impact. Tara and Daniel also continue to meet with Leona on a bi-weekly basis to map out our May Appreciative Advising meetings which will allow our advisors to build a stronger community among one another and will help them have a greater understanding of why we are using appreciative advising as our advising model.

Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources Sphere has identified staff throughout the Department of Medical Education to be “equity champions”. Equity champions will participate in a six-part workshop beginning in May. Members of the ISMMS Advisory Committee on Campus Safety are now invited to join. Additionally, Student Resources is also moving forward with plans to fund student research related to racism and bias. Lastly, Student Resources will be working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on developing a staff survey on experiencing racism and bias at work.

Student Sphere

In collaboration with Student Council, the student sphere has released its engagement questionnaire as part of the comprehensive student survey to the study body. We have also worked with the Guiding Coalition to discuss and plan next steps for the Mission Statement revision. We are continuing to hold monthly racial healing circles and work on the Participatory Decision-Making strategies for the implementation of the MSHS Task Force interventions or action to address racism.

Medical School-Wide

The culture and climate survey workgroup has started to review and assess existing surveys that have been implemented at other institutions. We are excited to report that the entire ISMMS will participate in the survey, which will result in data that can be used to inform interventions in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Medical School. 

Our mission statement campaign is entering the next phase. We dedicated time during a Guiding Coalition meeting to reflect on the very wide range of responses. The Student Sphere also conducted a meeting to discuss the responses. The data from the Padlet will undergo a qualitative analysis by an external expert and will be shared in a community-wide forum to allow for reflection prior to the creation of a revised statement. 

The next Unity in Action Town Hall is scheduled in August for the start of the new academic year and will focus on the experiences with racism of Native Americans and people who identify as AAPI.

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 April 2021 Action Update.