At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chats for Change was built on the notion that in order to respond to racism and to be anti-racist we must engage in dialogue, learning and action.


Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Department of Medical Education launched Chats for Change—a series of sessions that spark dialogue centered on racism and bias in medicine. The idea of Chats for Change was developed in response to medical education staff and medical students who wanted dedicated time to engage in a dialogue as a community to deepen our understanding and ability to address racism.

 All faculty, staff, trainees, students and others within the health system are invited to engage in dialogue and work towards common understanding by contributing their best thinking, knowing that other peoples’ reflections help to improve their thinking rather than destroy it. We are committed to engaging in dialogue in order to help us reveal our assumptions and biases for self-revaluation.

 By participating in Chats for Change, we offer an opportunity for attendees to explore key concepts related to racism and bias and uncover who they are in relation to others. Even though the dialogue is structured, the expectation is for attendees to express themselves from their own lived perspectives and listen for deeper understanding and insight.

 In August 2020, we launched the national edition of Chats for Change, a series of monthly dialogues focused on topics related to racism and bias in medicine. All medical schools from across the country and Canada are welcome—staff, faculty, trainees, leadership and students.


The Process

Each Chats for Change follows the same format:

  1. We open each session with a check in and a review of the grounding assumptions.
  2. The facilitators then introduce a concept or topic related to racism and bias.
  3. To level set knowledge we provide a frame and definition.
  4. The group then goes into breakout rooms to discuss the guiding questions related to the concept or topic.
  5. We then return to the larger group for debrief and close the session with a reflection about what we need to learn or unlearn.


Out of 311 respondents:

  • 92% of respondents reported that Chats for Change simulates their interest in the topic.
  • 85% reported Chats for Change dialogue will help them take sound action in the future.
  • 95% would recommend Chats for Change to a colleague or peer.

To the right is what a few attendees had to say about their experience with Chats for Change:

I find Chats for Change amongst the most valuable learning sessions that I have ever had at Mount Sinai. I have grown through them. Thank you.”

“This venue allows for respectful open and honest conversations with colleagues and allows me to think of different ways to do my work and hear specific examples of things that have worked in other universities.” 

“What I really appreciated about this was the small bite sized ways that we could engage with the content”

“I’m just fatigued. It helps and feels validating to hear other people experiencing similar experiences and feelings as me.”

Here’s how you can get involved with Chats for Change.

Attend Chats for Change

Join the National Chats for Change to conclude the three-part series called In the News. The media is a powerful socialization tool that creates unspoken attitudes, beliefs, and narratives through messages and images. We often do not stop, reflect, and analyze how this tool impacts us as individuals and the environments in which we work and learn. 

Become a Facilitator

If you are interested in learning more about how to facilitate Chats for Change, please sign up to attend one of our upcoming trainings. Space is limited.

  • 10/19 11:00-12:00p EST 
  • 10/20 3:00-4:00p EST 
  • 10/24 1:00-2:00p EST 
  • 10/26 1:00-2:00p EST 
Download New Content

We are making the Chats for Change slide decks available. Please fill out this brief form to gain access to the shared folder. We are launching the Say what you mean, mean what you say series first.

Shout Outs

Last but not least, we would like to recognize the Chats for Change core group facilitator group for their dedication and commitment to this work. We have facilitated over a hundred and twenty topics with over 3,000 attendees. Congrats!


Special thanks to:
Alia Barnes, MPH   |  Ashley Michelle Fowler, MEd  |  Leona Hess, PhD, MSW  |  Jay Johnson, CHES  |  Jenn Meyer, MPH, MSW  |  David Muller, MD  |  Ann-Gel Palermo, DrPH  |  Pete Zweig, MPA