A New York-native, Dr. Hess is a systems thinker and transformational change strategist. Joining Med Ed in October of last year, her primary role is to develop and apply a Change Management methodology to the Racism and Bias Initiative (RBI). By doing so she will build our collective capacity to effectively lead and implement transformational change towards our future state of providing health care and medical education that is free of racism and bias. Over the past few months she has worked with key stakeholders to begin to build out a more formal Change Management strategy that is bold and collaborative.

We caught up with Dr. Hess to find out about what Change Management is and how it will be applied to the RBI. 

Q: What is change management?

A: Change Management is a discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support people and organizations to successfully adopt change. Change Management follows a structured process and employs tools that are customized, targeted, system-focused and research-based. I’m excited about applying Change Management to the RBI because I think it can support the type of transformation that we want to see.

Q: What are the reasons for applying change management to this initiative?

A: Institution-wide racism initiatives are extremely challenging. We can simply hope for a successful outcome, or we can improve our chances of success significantly by providing the medical school with the preparation, support, and skills needed to succeed. It’s kind of a no-brainer. One of the things that is unique about Change Management is that it focuses on the people side of change. This is important because organizations or institutions like schools of medicine don’t change, people do. Failing to plan for and address the people side of change often is the root cause of failed initiatives. We are proactively engaging people across ISMMS to determine how we can change the way we perform our job functions and learn in our environments so that will can actualize our desired future state. Within the next six weeks, there will be more information about how to get involved. I’m confident that there will be unique opportunities for people who have not previously been involved in these efforts.

Q: So, you mention that there is going to be more information about the initiative soon. What else is coming down the pike?

A: Yes, there will be communications going out in early March, including more information about the strategy and how to get involved. It’s going to be critical for everyone in the school to work together to envision, transform and integrate change in our teaching and learning environments. I think we’re off to a great start.”

Each month Dr. Hess will post a blog about important insights, actions and reflections about how we can be the change and actualize our future state of providing healthcare and education that is free of racism and bias.


Dr. Hess is the Director of Strategy and Equity Education Programs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She has over eight years of experience teaching masters level courses on contemporary social issues, focusing on racism, sexism, ableism, heterocentrism, etc. She is an experiential facilitator with extensive experience in planning for, creating and implementing training solutions to support transformational change. Dr. Hess holds a PhD from Columbia University, an MSW from New York University, and a BS from George Washington University.