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About Us

Compassionate Conversations

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About the Program

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The Compassionate Conversations program is an ongoing opportunity for students, trainees, staff and faculty to come together and discuss important social justice issues facing our communities. Our goals are to:

  • Identify opportunities to engage in ongoing dialogue to address important societal issues or events affecting our communities (local, global) for staff, faculty, students and trainees.
  • Discuss strategies for maintaining self-care during stressful times.
  • Explore how members of the Baylor community can participate and lead efforts to advance social justice in our communities.

Each conversation includes sharing of information by content experts and attendees followed by small group discussions guided by trained facilitators and closing with a large group debrief that focuses on action steps members of the Baylor community can take to address the issue or concern.

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A Compassionate Conversation: Poverty and Homelessness in the Greater Houston Area

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The Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity hosted a Compassionate Conversation Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. The session defined poverty and homelessness and the adverse impacts it can have on the physical and psychosocial development and well-being of persons of all ages. The session featured speakers Ruth Buzi, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW; Naomi Lee McCants, M.D.; Fareed Mahmood Khan, M.D.; Kenya Steele, M.D.; and Harish Eswaran.

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A Compassionate Conversation: Sexual Harassment and Bystander Intervention Strategies

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The Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity hosted a Compassionate Conversation Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Karen Lawson, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Mikiba Morehead M.A., Title IX coordinator, facilitated a session to provide information about sexual harassment and bystander intervention strategies. The intent of this session is to continue the dialogue about workplace climate and further demonstrate Baylor’s commitment to a safe and supportive learning and work environment for all.

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A Compassionate Conversation: Understanding the Science of Unconscious Bias

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Janice Sabin, Ph.D., MSW, research associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine
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The Office of the Provost, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion invited students, trainees, faculty and staff to attend one of two sessions Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, which focused on the book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (2016). The sessions featured Janice Sabin, Ph.D., MSW, research associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who collaborates with Anthony Greenwald, Ph.D. (one of the co-authors of the book). The sessions discussed the science of unconscious and implicit cognition and offered attendees an opportunity to dialogue about feelings and concerns associated with the unconscious and hidden biases and explore strategies for mitigating unconscious and hidden biases that may occur in our work, learning and personal environments.

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A Compassionate Conversation: Screening of Ava DuVernay's Documentary "13th"

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Faculty, trainees, students discussing with panelists regarding the documentary film "13th" by Ava DuVernay.
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The Office of the Provost, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and Department of Medicine's Internal Medicine Diversity Council invited interested Baylor community members to attend a "Compassionate Conversation" Wednesday, May 10, 2017 to screen Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th (2016). A panel discussion followed on the current state of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States and a Q&A session. Panelists included:

• Kimberly Brown Pellum, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of History, Geography, and General Studies, Texas Southern University
• Alauna Curry, M.D., assistant professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
• Owen Murray, D.O., MBA, vice president of Correctional Managed Care and assistant professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch.

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A Compassionate Conversation: Immigration Policy Concerns

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Faculty, staff and trainees talked about changes in immigration policy that affect Baylor College of Medicine and the communities we serve.
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Individuals in the Baylor College of Medicine community who had concerns about the changes in U.S. immigration policy were invited to attend a Compassionate Conversation Wednesday, Feb. 15. Leadership and staff from the Office of Student Services, the General Counsel's Office, the International Services Office, the Office of the Ombudsman and others were available to answer questions and provide support that focused on immigration policy concerns and resources available at Baylor.

AAMC Statement on President Trump's Executive Order on Immigration
ACGME Statement on President Trump's Executive Order on Immigration

Resources and information related to travel abroad and entry into the United States following the recent immigration-related Executive Order:
• General information and links to organizations offering free or reduced fee legal services: Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative and Make Justice Happen - Houston Volunteer Lawyers.
• Hotline number: 1-888-507-2970 (9 a.m. -5 p.m., M-F)
• Texas Bar Lawyer Referral Service, call 1-877-9TEXBAR (toll free)

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A Compassionate Conversation: Promoting Healing for our Community

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Faculty, staff and trainees talk about issues facing our country and world at a Compassionate Conversation.
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More than 50 trainees, faculty, staff and College leaders gathered for a “Compassionate Conversation” about violence in our local and global community and what Baylor College of Medicine can do to promote healing.

Led by Dr. Toi Blakley Harris, associate provost of institutional diversity and inclusion and student services, participants met around tables for facilitated discussions focusing on violent acts involving civilians, law enforcement officers and terrorists that have filled the news this summer. In the small group setting, the diverse crowd listened with compassion and respect to personal reflections on the violence.

The 90-minute session concluded with the groups presenting recommendations for actions the College should take to make a positive difference. All participants favored more opportunities to come together for conversation across roles, disciplines and cultures.

Harris thanked members of the Narrative Medicine Program for serving as facilitators. She said that, based on the feedback, this dialogue will continue in future sessions that will assist with strategic planning for College-wide social justice initiatives. Event planning is underway for Diversity Week, Oct. 3-7.

In closing remarks, Dr. Alicia Monroe, provost and senior vice president for academic and faculty affairs, reminded attendees, “Be gentle with yourself.” She prescribed sleep, exercise and good nutrition, limited media exposure, greater social engagement and faith to “keep body and spirit strong for the work ahead.