Chats for Change | Mount Sinai


Activities that spark conversations.


Below is the fall 2021 Chats for Change schedule. If you are a member of the Mount Sinai Health System, you are welcome to join us for these sessions.

What’s New? Our design and topics.

Based on feedback, this season we’ve decided to redesign the format of Chats for Change so that we more explicitly set up conditions for braver and safer dialogue. Come and check out what we mean on September 7.

Some of the questions/topics we plan to explore this fall:

  • Does silent racism = blatant racism?
  • Exploring barriers to student engagement in anti-racism.
  • What is the existence and significance of whiteness?
  • What is Critical Race Theory, and what’s the big deal?
  • Is the War on Drugs racist?
  • What does leadership in racial justice look like?
  • Are racism and ableism historically connected?
  • Do you have to speak Spanish to be Latinx?
  • Exploring the Model Minority Myth.
  • What are white supremacy culture characteristics intended to achieve?
  • Do Millennials understand and experience racism differently than people from older generations?
  • Are you tired of only seeing the options “Black” or “African American” when identifying your race?

Register today and put the invite on your calendar. It’s going to be a journey you don’t want to miss.

Chats for Change is built on the notion that in order to respond to racism and to be anti-racist we must engage in dialogue, learning and action.

If you’ve attended Chats for Change in the past or if you are curious about the experience, we invite you to join us this fall as we continue to engage in dialogue to work towards common understanding and contribute our best thinking, knowing that other peoples’ reflections will help improve, not undermine, our thinking, revealing our assumptions and biases for self-evaluation.

Since Chats for Change is open-ended and designed to ignite deeper learning and action, we encourage you to continue the dialogue in your personal, work and learning environments. This fall we want to hear from you. How have you continued the dialogue? Share your brief story or example with us. We will share anonymous stories in the NEW Racism and Bias Initiative’s monthly newsletter.

Schedule of Events

October 2021

The Invention of Whiteness

Whiteness is a socially significant structure that mitigates life chances in American society. Join us as we explore the creation and significance of whiteness and its connection to the persistence of racism in American society. If we are to understand the forces at work in our country today, we must understand the forces that shape us.

Facilitators: Drs. David Muller and Leona Hess
Tuesday, October 5 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Social Determinants of Health: What is Social and What is Structural?

The CDC defines social determinants of health as “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes.” In this session, we will discuss various social determinants of health and uncover how racism, biases, and inequities reveal how some determinants may be more structural than social.

Facilitator: Jenn Meyer
Tuesday, October 12 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Rest and Healing | Racial Healing Circle

You are not a machine. You are a divine human being. Resting is a meticulous healing practice that allows for expansiveness and space for interconnectedness. Join us for this month’s racial healing circle for a deep moment to collectively process, rest and imagine.

Facilitator: Jenn Dias, MS3 (Scholarly Year)
Friday, October 15 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Do You Have to Speak Spanish to be Latinx?

In honor of Latinx Heritage month, come explore the intersectionality of Spanish language/culture and interactions between physicians and patients in the United States. In this discussion, we will take a closer look at the treatment of Latinx patients in clinical settings, and provide tools on how to be a better advocate for patients from different backgrounds.

Facilitator: Latinx Medical Student Association (LMSA)
Tuesday, October 19 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


What Does it Mean to be “Woke”?

Originating in the United States, the term “woke” refers to having an awareness about racial prejudice and discrimination. But is being woke enough to achieve racial equity? Join us as we explore what it means to be “woke” at this moment in time.

Facilitators: Dr. Ann-Gel Palermo and Alia Barnes
Tuesday, October 26 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  

November 2021

Leadership and Race

Leadership and Race explores the ways in which our current thinking about leadership often contributes to producing and maintaining racialized dynamics. Join us to explore what should be the core competencies associated with racial justice leadership.

Facilitator: Dr. Ann-Gel Palermo
Tuesday, November 2 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Critical Race Theory: What it is and what it isn’t.

Critical race theory—what it is, what it isn’t and how it sparked a national firestorm. Join us to explore how and why critical race theory became a highly divisive, politically charged issue and what it says about racism in America today.

Facilitators: Alia Barnes and Peter Zweig
Tuesday, November 9 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Unmasking the Model Minority Myth

Asians/Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have often been called “model minorities” because of their achievement of the “American Dream.” In this Chats for Change, we will unmask some of the fallacies of the Model Minority Myth as well as examine how this myth has been used to create a racial wedge among POC and perpetuate inequalities.

Facilitators: Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)
Tuesday, November 16 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Power of the Breath | Racial Healing Circle

“Healing is every breath.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Breath is essential to life. How we breathe matters, too. Deep breathing can help calm and slow down emotional turbulence in our minds. Join us this month as we practice different types of breathing techniques, each having a specific effect on the mind-body physiology and our time to reflect together.

Facilitator: Jenn Dias, MS3 (Scholarly Year)
Friday, November 19 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Mass Incarceration as a Public Health Crisis

Along with so many other oppressive systems, marginalized communities face increased rates of incarceration, with Black and Brown people representing almost 60% of the prison population in 2020. With their lives at risk prior to incarceration due to health inequities that cause lack of access, toxic stress from racism, and the impact of food deserts, lives in prison represent new and insidious challenges from subpar medical care and mentally destabilizing isolation that only continues through release. Join us as we discuss the role the carceral system plays on the health of individuals and communities, and how we can continue to advocate for equity to disrupt its impact.

Facilitators: Alia Barnes and Jay Johnson
Tuesday, November 23 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


The War on Drugs

The term “War on Drugs”, originally coined in 1971, served to condemn the illegal trafficking, sale and use of drugs within the United States. Eventually becoming a dog whistle for criminalizing Black and Brown people after the mass dissemination of Crack decimated communities in both health and incarceration, the treatment of drug use as a criminal issue vs a public health crisis has continued to take lives as the Opioid Crisis took hold. Join us as we discuss the harms of the War on Drugs tactics and the need for preventative and restorative policies to address drug use.

Facilitators: Jenn Meyer and Jay Johnson
Tuesday, November 30 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  

December 2021

Racism: Generational Differences

Do Millennials understand and experience racism differently than people from older generations? How does this impact the ways in which we work and learn in our environment? Join us to unpack the generational differences and how we can turn them into opportunities.

Facilitator: Drs. David Muller and Leona Hess
Tuesday, December 7 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Ableism x Racism and White Supremacy Culture

Ableism is a system that places value on people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, intelligence, and productivity, and are rooted in white supremacy culture, anti-Blackness, eugenics, colonialism, and capitalism. What would an inclusive society look like and what is our responsibility to remove barriers and make life more accessible for everyone? By understanding the historical connection between racism and ableism, we can join our efforts to dismantle these interlocking systems of oppression.

Facilitators: Dr. Leona Hess and Mary Koshy
Tuesday, December 14 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  


Heart-Work | Racial Healing Circle

Join us for heart-sharing rounds where students, staff, and faculty have the opportunity to speak to what is most on their heart in the moment. We will engage in empathy for each other through intentional, non-judgmental listening, as we explore ways to be more connected with ourselves, our bodies, and one another.

Facilitator: Jenn Dias, MS3 (Scholarly Year)
Friday, December 17 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  

White Fragility

Achieving racial equity requires us to acknowledge historical realities and engage in challenging conversations. Why are so few white folks prepared to do this and what will it take to make meaningful change?

Facilitator: Dr. David Muller and Peter Zweig
Tuesday, December 28 | 12-1 pm | Join us on Zoom.  

We dedicate the fall 2021 Chats for Change to the memory of Edrica Anthony, who was a powerful agent for change in her work at Mount Sinai, and was a thoughtful and provocative contributor to many of our Chats.

These sessions are intended for the Mount Sinai Health System community of students, faculty, and staff. After registering for any of the sessions above you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting, including an option to add the invitation to your calendar.

Don't Miss a Beat.

If you are a student, faculty, or staff member of the Mount Sinai Health System, we welcome you to sign up for our newsletters.