On the Pulse: A Global Sphere Update

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 has expanded our team over the last month. We have started to plan out and work on our updated and additional change targets. We are reinvigorated and plan to build on our work, learning from each other on the Admissions Committee. Partnering with the MD/PhD program and ODI we look to grow our efforts on ongoing training and education of the Admissions Committee, enhancing admissions pathways and formalizing review of student outcomes to better inform our Admissions work.

Clinical Sphere

In the last month, we hosted a Pediatric Chats for Change (co-facilitated by a member from our sphere and a pediatric staff) that led to a strong discussion about the dynamics of breakout groups, including allied only spaces vs BIPOC spaces. We have continued to plan for 1 more Chats for Change session (Feb) and a topic specific workshop (March), which would create 6 total sessions for the department. We have been updating our working group spreadsheet weekly to develop and reflect on our SMART goals. We will no longer be working with psychiatry as their department leadership is actively working on their own internal initiatives. Opportunities have come up to work with specific departments within pediatrics (eg meeting 2/26 with child life specialists and social work to discuss ideas for combating bias towards patients with sickle cell disease) and OB.  Regarding the mistreatment reports, a meeting was held with external consultants from Vanderbilt and a proposed plan for a mistreatment committee was created.

Curricular Affairs Sphere

In February, the Curricular Affairs Sphere developed a comprehensive plan for our 2021 efforts, including refining our change targets and defining our organizational structure.  We met with SNMA leadership to share this progress and incorporate their feedback.  We are nearing completion of a comprehensive inventory of all current curricula focused on race and racism.  This will help us identify gaps and redundancies in the current MD program curriculum.  

In partnership with students, faculty, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and patient and community representatives we are analyzing this inventory and developing a curriculum map.  To guide this process we developed a draft Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO) that addresses racism and bias: “Recognize and develop approaches to mitigate bias, social inequities, and systemic racism that undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at individual, organizational, and societal levels.”  Our team is now soliciting feedback on this MEPO, and will present it and the Curriculum Map to the Course Directors and Clinical Curriculum Subcommittees upon completion.  Final approval and inclusion of the MEPO will occur with the Executive Oversight Committee prior to the 2021-22 academic year.

An analysis of current recruitment and retention practices is also ongoing, with current auditions specifically calling for SPs of color. Finally, our sphere is engaging Course Directors to diversify the representation of Black and marginalized individuals in their curricular materials as well as in patient presentations.  We have identified multiple external resources and are working with faculty and students develop additional resources to meet the unique needs of our curriculum.  We are grateful for the collaboration across multiple teams and offices to move our change targets forward.

Student Affairs Sphere

We have appointed Daniel as our administrative leader.  He will attend weekly advising team meetings.  He will collaborate with Tara and Leona to build faculty development workshops for the advisors taking place in May as well as provide case-based instruction for faculty development. An invitation has been sent to the Student Sphere to meet in March and collaborate to build an evaluative process that includes year to year data and possible on-the-spot advising feedback. The team is also searching for literature for scholarly work.

Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources will be identifying equity champions and holding a kickoff equity champions to determine processes and practices for equitable decision-making. Student Resources is also moving forward with plans to fund student research related to racism and bias. Additionally, the group will be engaging the Safety Committee, a group that includes students, security personnel, and senior leadership, in identifying safety issues related to racism and bias. Lastly, Student Resources will be developing a staff survey on experiencing racism and bias at work.

Student Sphere

The Student Sphere has finalized 9 questions about anti-racism engagement to be included in Student Council’s comprehensive survey. Results are anticipated May/June 2021. 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

Dr. Muller, staff and students collaborated to develop a department-wide campaign, “Mission: Make a Statement” to update the Med Ed mission statement so that it explicitly denounces racism and commits to racial justice. From now through Friday, March 26, the department is collecting responses and feedback. Visit Padlet and upload anything that will help us shape the new mission statement.

Deans Muller and Filizola committed to a series of quarterly town halls where students, faculty and staff can process, update and coordinate responses to current events and community needs as they relate to racism and bias. The purpose of the Unit In Action town halls is to provide an ongoing forum whereby members of the ISMSS community can engage in conversations that are responsive to the myriad and intersecting ways that oppression and disenfranchisement impacts our institution and daily lives.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Racism and Bias Initiative are partnering to plan for the development of a department-wide culture and climate survey with faculty, staff, and students in medical school and identify potential opportunities for change.

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 March 2021 Action Update.

COVID-19 Racism and Bias—Share Your Stories and Access Resources

Although all members of our community are all feeling increased stress due to COVID-19, some members of our community are additionally fighting increased racism and bias against them. The goal of this blog post is to share your stories, provide resources for reporting and dealing with racism and bias personally, and for becoming a better ally to folks experiencing racism and bias.

We are continuing to collect anonymous stories of racism and bias during the COVID pandemic. Please feel free to use this anonymous space to share encounters that you have experienced or witnessed.

Our goal as the clinical sphere is to disseminate stories, quotes, or pieces from these submissions in our RBI communications during the COVID pandemic, to increase awareness and understanding of the additional racism and bias induced stress that some of our colleagues are experiencing during this time.

Tools for Reporting Racism and Bias

Learn more.

At Mount Sinai:

  • Reporting Tools: Report racism using the mistreatment reporting form, or by calling the confidential or anonymous compliance hotline at 800-853-9212. You may also report racism and bias by speaking with your program director, department chair, or ombudsperson.
  • Students: As a reminder, please find options for reporting mistreatment on your mistreatment resources ID tag.


Beyond Mount Sinai:

  • NYS Attorney General Hotline: Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Racism by reporting to the NYS Attorney General hotline. Call the Ongoing Hotline at 1-800-771-7755 or
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice Report Tool: AAAJ is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all.
  • The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council: APCON is a coalition of community-based organizations that advocates for the rights and needs of the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Community in the greater Los Angeles area, with a particular focus on low income, immigrant, refugee and other disadvantaged sectors of the population.

Wellness Resources

Learn more.

At Mount Sinai:

  • Staff Well-Being During COVID-19: For well-being during the COVID crisis, check out the COVID staff resources well-being page. The menu on the right side offers options for basic needs, psychosocial support, and Mental Health Treatment and Evaluations.
  • Mount Sinai Calm: Mount Sinai Calm is now operating virtually. Find programming and resources for mindfulness and meditation, yoga, art sessions, and other de-stressing sessions.
  • Talk About It: Attend additional, newly scheduled RBI Chats for Change to talk about COVID-specific racism and bias. Click the link to RSVP for both these and our regularly scheduled chats for change options.


Beyond Mount Sinai:

  • Bridges Mental Health Counseling: If you would like assistance in finding support from a therapist in the New York City area who shares your cultural identity or is passionate and knowledgeable about your community, explore this unique directory. Under the resources tab, they also offer additional, related resources that may benefit you.
  • NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline: For New York State residents who could benefit from mental health support, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 is staffed 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • NYC Well: Text, call, or chat with NYC Well for assistance with problems like stress, anxiety, depression, and more for yourself or someone you care about.
  • Student-Compiled Resources: This massive directory of self-care and wellness resources has been put together by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai students and features tabs for mental health, free workouts, de-stress activities, apps, and websites, and more.

Tools for Fighting Racism and Bias

Learn more.

Bystander Intervention: To find tools for speaking out when you witness racism/bias, check out:

Microaggression Response Resources: To find tools for understanding and responding to microaggressions, check out the following resources on our RBI personal learning lab:

  • Killing Me Softly: A game demonstrating how it feels to suffer microaggressions and acculturative stress day after day.
  • Mixed Messages: A tool for recognizing microaggressions and the messages they send.
  • Interrupting Techniques: Strategies for interrupting microaggressions in the moment.

Community and Learning:

  • RBI Chats for Change: RBI Chats for Change is a series of discussion sessions for exploring and learning about racism and bias; check out newly added sessions for COVID-specific racism and bias.


  • Dumplings Against Hate: Support NYC Chinatown businesses, who bear a greater burden during this economic crisis because of the associated racism.
  • CACF has started a fund called RICE (Responding Immediately to the COVID-19 Emergency), which is helping member organizations to offer money directly to families in poverty that have been devastated by the crisis. Click on “Donate Now.” In the “Designation” drop-down, please select “Rice Fund.”
  • Supporting Local Businesses: The next time you’re ordering a meal for delivery or going grocery shopping, consider supporting your local Asian-owned small businesses!

About this Post

This post was written by the Racism and Bias Initiative’s Clinical Sphere

An Update on Spheres • Quarter Two Highlights

An Update on Spheres • Quarter Two Highlights

Over the past few months, the RBI Spheres have made some progress with their Change Targets and Objectives. Here are the highlights.

Admissions Sphere

The Admissions Sphere held three 90-minute MD Admissions Committee Orientations at the start of the 2019-20 Admissions cycle. Topics addressed included:

  • Unconscious Bias
  • Bias Traps in Admissions
  • The Equity Framework in Admissions and Student Support
  • Diversity as the Driver of Excellence in Institutions
  • National and Local Demographic Data in Medical School

The MD Admissions Committee continues to track and document instances of discussions that highlight potential biases and ones in which course corrections are addressed and a productive educational journey ensues. This real-life case based approach has been successful in promoting continual committee member education and development. Our hope is to widen this approach to other admissions committees across the school.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • The Training, Training Development, and Implement and Track change targets are now 100 percent complete.
  • The Course Correct change target is now 40 percent complete.


Clinical Sphere

We have met with the following groups in Pediatric Medicine:

  • Diversity Council
  • Social Work (for Pediatrics and OB/GYN)
  • Chair and Vice Chairs
  • Clinical Fellows
  • Housestaff
  • Patient Reps
  • Clinic Managers
  • Chief Residents
  • Nursing (Scheduled to meet soon)

We’ve created flyers and pocket cards with information about RBI and the Compliance Hotline. These are being distributed and posted in clinical sites. Through our efforts, departmental and hospital leadership is now engaged in this process and are beginning to address a specific area of concern: segregated care. Our plans moving forward include:

  • Holding meetings with the Nursing department
  • Scheduling training with interested groups (Unconscious Bias training, Iceberg sessions, etc.)
  • Working closely with the patient representatives to explore reports of racism and bias that are already in their database
What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • The Recruit and Inform, and Communications Plan change targets are now 100 percent complete.
  • The Connect Reports change target is now 50 percent complete.
Curricular Affairs Sphere

The Curricular Affairs sphere solicited and received feedback from sphere members, the Office of Curricular Support staff, and students. The sphere leads also recruited a medical librarian to help review best practices in the areas of anti-racist knowledge, skills, and personal awareness.

The needs and strength assessment of course and clerkship directors will be scheduled for November 2019 following the busy accreditation preparation period. In the next six months, the sphere will use gathered data to build the curricular map and move toward curriculum development. The sphere will also welcome additional members to join the core sphere leads following the accreditation process. 

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • The Feedback change target is now 100 percent complete.
  • The Best Practices change target is now 50% complete.
  • The Strength and Needs Assessment, Curricular Map, and Curricular Development change targets have goal date extensions to November 2019, February 2020, and June 2020, respectively.
Student Affairs Sphere

Faculty Advisors are now on board and we are working to incorporate Appreciative Advising in our advising practices. We are also actively engaged in improving communication with students, revamping incident reporting, and revising our mission statement.


What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • The Developing Community change target is now 75 percent complete.
  • The Practice Model is now 50 percent complete.
Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources Sphere has made strong progress to date. So far, we have:

  • Connected with all stakeholders
  • Created a process to support and engage with partners outside of the Medical Education and Enrollment Services environment
  • Identified areas for impact

What has stalled further progress is the inability to impact the work flow that is required by our partners to achieve our change targets. We have begun to make improvements in the areas within our locus of control and believe that these changes will impact students entering in the 2019 academic year.

We have also had some attrition on the Sphere and it’s not clear whether we should reconstitute the membership, that is an ongoing discussion at our meetings. Finally we are in the process of identifying additional change targets that are within those areas that we are accountable and responsible for the work.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • The Policy Audit and Communication change targets are now 25 percent complete.
Student Sphere

Three new students joined the sphere. The student sphere will continue to provide feedback and support to the other RBI spheres.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?

There are no updates to report.

If you are a student and would like more information, contact the Student Sphere.

An Update on Spheres • Quarter Two Highlights

An Update on Spheres • Quarter One Highlights

Over the past few months, the RBI Spheres have made some progress with their Change Targets and Objectives. Here are the highlights.

Admissions Sphere

To assist in the development of the training materials, the Admission Sphere implemented a form to track all instances of unconscious bias or evidence of working towards addressing bias during screening and interviewing, bringing them to 80 percent completion of their second objective: Training Development.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • Objective 2 (Training Development) is 80 percent complete.


Clinical Sphere

In light of other hospital-wide reporting initiatives, the clinical sphere has modified their objectives to work in tandem with and support clinical-space reporting through an anti-racist lens. We modified the Clinical Sphere’s: Change Target, Objectives, and Timeline—all of which are now available.

Objective 1 of the new timeline, developing a plan to recruit and inform pediatrics department stakeholders, is now complete, and we are moving into the second objective. Individual letters were sent to recruit stakeholders in February 2019, and we received responses from each stakeholder, which brings Objective 2 to 30 percent completion.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • New Change Targets, Objectives, and Timelines for the Clinical Sphere
  • Objective 1 (Plan Development) is 100 percent complete.
  • Objective 2 (Recruit and Inform) is 30 percent complete.
Curricular Affairs Sphere

The Curricular Affairs Sphere met to review the feedback they received from faculty and started to develop focus group questions.

What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?

No updates to report on the tracker at this time.

Student Affairs Sphere

All Faculty Advisors received materials on appreciate advising which will serve as a resource for the development of the practice model objective, bringing them to 15 percent completion.


What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • Objective 3 (Practice Model) is 15 percent complete.
Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources Sphere held their first meeting with the on-boarding team, bringing their second objective to 75 percent completion. They have added a step to Objective 3 and modified the timeline to accommodate this: instead of beginning with immediately reviewing policies, the Student Resources Sphere will be meeting with individual members of the student experience team to identify points of contact with students during the on-boarding process, to gain a more holistic perspective of it. Having scheduled these small group meetings, their third objective is now at 10 percent completion. 



What Changes Will You See on the Change Target Tracker?
  • Objective 1 (Identify Resource Gaps) is 100 percent complete.
  • Objective 2 (Team Buy in) is 75 percent complete.
  • Objective 3 (Policy Audit) is 10 percent complete.
Five Key Actions in Four Months

Five Key Actions in Four Months

Since our last updates, RBI’s Guiding Coalition of Change Leaders focused their energy on five key actions to get us closer to the vision of becoming a health professions school providing healthcare and education that is free of racism and bias.