Bold Conversations Program

Patrice Malone, Psychiatry; Claude Mellins, Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences) 

Patrice Malone, Psychiatry; Claude Mellins, Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences) 

Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s (CUIMC) CopeColumbia program, born in a medical crisis to address the substantive impact of COVID-19 on provider, faculty and staff wellbeing, launched its first event devoted to “Bold Conversations for Healing and Reshaping Our Medical Center Community" in the Spring of 2021. Originally conceived as a one-time panel to create a safe space for peer-to-peer discussions concerning experiences of racial stress and bias at work, a second program event was held in October 2021. Given the substantial positive feedback, CopeColumbia faculty led by Dr. Patrice Malone, are exploring ways to expand the scope of this program to address the substantive impact of racial stress on healthcare provider wellbeing, working closely with both Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Department of Human Resources (HR) and the Office of Faculty Professional Development, Diversity, and Inclusion. This program will address a significant gap in efforts to address racial and social injustice by supporting the wellbeing of faculty and staff of color at CUIMC who have experienced racial stress and promote resilience.

The long-term goals of CopeColumbia’s Bold Conversations program are to more fully (1) create a culture of inclusion and compassion and (2) address barriers related to collective wellbeing and resilience as it pertains to racial stress and experiences of bias. The funding from this initiative would allow the grantees to:

  • a) Expand the reach of our program by providing more opportunities for safe discussions on these topics
  • b) Obtain specialized training for CopeColumbia facilitators to engage in this group work devoted to addressing employee based racial stress, and
  • c) Broaden Bold Conversations’ offerings through use of media, including creation of videos and other messaging, as well as conference presentations and manuscript publications that will allow dissemination of our work to others within and outside of our institution.

CopeColumbia has been and will continue to collect data on the feasibility, acceptability, and uptake of programming to inform future planning of events and the creation of supportive materials. The researches anticipate formative program evaluations consisting of data collection through administration of online surveys after Bold Conversation events as well as implementation of debrief protocol for panelists, facilitators, and guest speakers. Additionally, through this grant, the researches hope to offer focus groups to better understand the impact of events and areas of future growth.

Additional information is available here.

This project was funded through the Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.