Environment Initiatives

We aim to create an atmosphere in which multiple voices are amplified and their opinions are considered and valued. We continually innovate the ideal culture for surgical faculty and resident development and excellence for all individuals; one that supports diverse groups and those underrepresented in surgery.

We are establishing an ongoing educational process for cultural competence and implicit bias awareness. By building our collective cultural competence and intelligence in the Department of Surgery, we will promote an inclusive work environment where all individuals thrive.

"The Department of Surgery is fully committed to providing a platform where all faculty are advanced, no matter your race, your gender, your disability, your sexual orientation."

Dr. Erika A. Newman

What We Stand For

The Department of Surgery at Michigan Medicine is dedicated to the safety of all patients, families, employees, and learners who come into our hospitals and clinics. We strive to be an anti-racist institution that is dedicated to supporting policies and practices aimed at eliminating health disparities, improving access to care for all communities, and building a culture that ensures safety and a sense of belonging for everyone. We stand together against intolerant or disrespectful behavior and condemn racism in any form.

Department of Surgery Mission: Compassionate care for patients. Innovative research for surgery. Training for the next leaders and best.

The success of the Department of Surgery rests largely on a culture in which individuals are supported to advance and thrive. Our goal is to intentionally promote and protect an environment that cultivates and supports academic and clinical excellence, discovery, and innovation; one that celebrates individual differences, honors our shared values of inclusion, collaboration, and wellness, and fosters a sense of pride and excellence in our daily work.

In order to accomplish the Department of Surgery mission, we have created the following objectives:

  1. Create a physical and social environment, which represents and supports individual differences and an inclusive workplace.

  2. Provide education, training, and support to improve cultural competency and to promote inclusion.

  3. Create innovative methods to raise cultural awareness and foster collaboration and communication in safe environments.

  4. Develop meaningful, ongoing assessments that demonstrate efforts for continuous and strategic improvement of our current workplace culture.

  5. Promote and sustain wellness and mental health so that our faculty, staff and learners can be most effective and fulfilled.

  6. Strengthen connection, collaboration, and outreach across disciplines and with the surrounding community.

  7. Support mechanisms that ensure transparency and accountability from the institution, leadership, and one another.

The Department of Surgery Culture Crew has created an Environment Toolkit, an evolving collection of statements and policies which provides a framework for environment-related best practices. The toolkit includes a Patient Bias Protocol, which provides:

  • A step by step process for responding to patient bias and racism

  • A decision tree to assess patient safety and acuity

  • Scripts for addressing bias

  • A sample behavioral contract.

The toolkit is available by request. Please email facultylife@med.umich.edu to learn more.

Community Engagement

The Culture Crew is a group of faculty members, residents, and staff that regularly meets to discuss Department of Surgery culture. The Culture Crew is made up of task teams that are focused on specific topics, such as training, assessment, mission and objectives, and the HOPE Collaborative.

The Culture Crew holds a weekly town hall for faculty, trainees, and staff to come together to discuss topics related to culture in the Department of Surgery. In addition to discussing recent events, Culture Crew task teams present recent work they have been developing. 

The practice of medicine provides opportunities for positive interventions that advance the wellbeing of the communities in which we live and serve. The HOPE (Health equity, Opportunity, Pipeline, Education) Collaborative aims to broaden the impact of academic medicine by collaborating with community partners to address the most pressing social and advocacy issues of patients.

The collaborative hosts an annual symposium that brings in experts in the fields of academic medicine and social advocacy to speak, in addition to providing participants time to engage in group talk, Q&A, targeted working sessions, and networking. The event is open to the public.

Cultural Enrichment

The Department of Surgery has established a grand rounds series focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion through the Michigan Promise. This series brings in high-profile speakers from throughout the country, specializing in topics specific to surgery as well as other related fields such as criminal justice. This series also includes the annual Asa Yancey Lecture series, established in honor of Dr. Asa Yancey.

The Department of Surgery faculty members have been involved in the development of the Cultural Complications curriculum, in which incidents related to culture are reviewed and assessed in the traditional Morbidity & Mortality conferences.

The curriculum includes 12 data-driven modules focused on key diversity, equity, and inclusion themes. The modules review key terminology and scientific evidence for the concept in addition to sample cases to discuss.

Panelists come together to discuss the cultural complications curriculum, including why it was created, how it was developed, and lessons learned.

The Department of Surgery includes a book club as a part of its grand rounds series. A faculty member, resident, or staff member is assigned as a moderator to lead a discussion of a pre-assigned book. Past books have included: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi; Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Tatum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell; An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey; The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth by Amy C. Edmondson.