Diversity Means More: Facilitating conversations to transform culture at Michigan Medicine

April 2, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

Each Anti-Racism Oversight subcommittee has worked diligently to bring forth sustainable action items that contribute to anti-racism and cultural climate change at Michigan Medicine. The Opportunities for Conversation subcommittee has an overall goal to create sustainable opportunities for formal and informal conversations throughout Michigan Medicine by addressing racism in a psychologically-safe environment.

The subcommittee is leveraging the already successful Becoming Series to facilitate greater understanding of our diverse background while cultivating a safe cultural climate at the unit and department level.

Michigan Medicine leaders and teams are encouraged to adopt similar practices in their own local areas in order to improve climate and inclusion.

The Becoming Series: Storytelling at Michigan Medicine

The Becoming Series is centered on personal storytelling, self-reflection and honest vulnerability, giving employees the opportunity to learn more about their colleagues and the impact of how life experiences influence the way individuals see the world.

“The Becoming Series has become one of the most popular DEI sessions at MICHR, and has created a brave space where an individual’s life and career journey can be shared through a DEI lens,” said LaTonya Berryhill, operations manager and DEI implementation lead for the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), which developed the Becoming Series.

“Since May 2019, 16 Becoming sessions have provided the broader MICHR team the opportunity to learn about colleagues’ journeys as they have dealt with issues of race, immigration, mental health, (dis)abilities and various other aspects of DEI.”    

The format follows the DEI facilitation guide and begins the conversation with a question-and-answer interviewing approach in which the facilitator guides the storyteller to speak on their experiences in the DEI journey. The goal of the series is to create more meaningful connections through open conversation in safe environments. It is designed as a one-hour session, beginning with the facilitated conversation and storytelling portion and ending with a larger group discussion.

“We are working to transform culture at Michigan Medicine. I believe that communication is the medium through which we achieve that and conversation is one of the most powerful modes of communication,” said George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., Robert B. Sweet Professor and chair, Department of Anesthesiology, co-director of MICHR and co-chair of the AROC Opportunities for Conversation subcommittee.

As mentioned in the March 5 Michigan Medicine town hall and the OHEI Community Conversation held on March 11, the training materials to host a Becoming Series session are now available.

The Opportunities for Conversation subcommittee will continue to work with its operational partners and stakeholders to train facilitators, and assist departments and units with resources as they begin to host more impactful conversations.

Visit Opportunities for Conversation to access the Becoming Series DEI Facilitation Guide and other resources from the Opportunities for Conversation subcommittee.

Sponsored by: Michigan Medicine Anti-Racism Oversight Committee – Opportunities for Conversation in partnership with the Michigan Medicine Office for Health Equity and Inclusion

Developed by: LaTonya Berryhill, DEI Implementation Lead, MICHR (ltweety@med.umich.edu), Mark Cantrell, DEI Implementation Lead, MICHR (mvcantre@med.umich.edu)