Cultural Communication

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Cultural Communication: Brown Bag Discussions “Understanding through Dialogue"

green and tan Army boots


USU EEO and the SOM Diversity Committee Present:

Brown Bag Discussion “Understanding through Dialogue”

July 21st 

1200 to 1300 in A2017


All Administrators, Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Please spend some of your lunch time in another learning discussion on Thursday July 21st in room A2017.

The opening question for the discussion is: “How should we address disparities in the legal system?” 

The events of the last two weeks cannot be ignored and may be a significant part of the group discussion:

The Most Recent example of sentencing disparities such as in the Stanford case may be discussed:


TED Talk: Adam Foss: A prosecutor's vision for a better justice system


Article: Criminal justice system may create and aggravate health disparities among minorities


TED Talk: Mary Bassett, New York City's Health Commissioner: Why your doctor should care about social justice


We’re looking for more Feedback!


If you have comments, suggestions or solutions please leave a comment:


Brown Bag discussions are the 3rd Thursday of each month.

August 18st Topic: Why is there a stigma with mental health?


September 15th Topic: Microagression part 2, How can we educate others on the topic?

Highlights of Past Discussions

On May 19, 2016  the discussion topic was “Are some groups promoted faster than others?"

After the discussion we walked away with the following take away point:

"Pursue what most interests you and actively seek mentorship to help achieve your goals."

The following links gave background information on the issue:

How US Military Structure Overcomes the Gender Pay Gap:(link is external)

Sheryl Sandberg’s 2010 TED Talk: Why we have too few women leaders:(link is external)

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Faculty Promotion in Academic Medicine(link is external)

If you have comments, suggestions or solutions please leave a comment:

The opening question for the discussion was: “Why do we use race in medicine?” 

The following links gave background information on the issue:

Medical Schools Teaching Race

TED Talk:

The problem with race based medicine by Dorothy Roberts

  1. After the discussion we walked away with these take away points:  
  2. Race belongs in the social history section not the Chief complaint or Identification
  3. AAMC has to get involved to create a systemic change especially in standardized testing
  4. Medical students are taught to always consider race except for microbiology immunology slides
  5. When asked what label to use for a patient, “i.e. Black or African American” use what the patient uses or use nothing if you didn’t ask the question
  6. Race is a surrogate for culture, environment and social influences
  7. Genetic differentiation may be more prevalent in the future


The opening questions for the discussion are: “Why am I here? How do I find meaning and purpose? What sustains me during difficult times?” Our answers to these questions can indicate how spiritually resilient we are. In turn, our spiritual resiliency is an essential component in our overall ability to maintain a state of well-being.

Our chaplain is posing these questions in the context of our monthly diversity dialogue because each of us answers them differently. For many, their answers are partially or wholly informed by various religious beliefs and perspectives. Yet others find meaning and purpose apart from religion. Please join us in discussing what gives your life meaning and purpose and what we can do to increase our individual and collective spiritual resiliency.

The following link offers one (not religion specific) perspective on the issue:


How to Unlock the Power of Purpose - Richard Leider

Imagine a pill that would aid cognitive decline, help prevent macroscopic stroke, aid sleep, and add 7 years to your life. How much would you pay for it? Would you take it? It turns out that pill is free, and it's available to all. It's called Purpose.

The opening question for the discussion was: “How do you recognize burnout?” 

Captain Patricia McKay discussed our topic on Burnout and provided the following ppt:

Power point presentation for Burnout

The following links give background information on the issue:

That's the thing: You don't understand burnout unless you've been burned out. And it's something you can't even explain. It's just doing something you have absolutely no passion for.

-         Elena Delle Donne


The article below recommends that the Triple Aim be expanded to a Quadruple Aim, adding the goal of improving the work life of health care providers, including clinicians and staff.

Care of the patient requires care of the Provider


Job burnout: How to spot it and take action


Discover if you're at risk of job burnout — and what you can do when your job begins to affect your health and happiness. 


The video below is about Vanessa Loder's mission to empower and inspire millions of women by helping them realize true success is easier than they think. 

How to Lean In Without Burning Out


 The opening question for the discussion was: “Who wins when the patient and provider disagree?” 

The following links give background information on the issue:

Medical conflict overview article (six years old but a good topic overview):


Dismissing families for vaccine refusal:


How to use an expert (Watch it as a patient not a provider):


Empathy and Patient–Physician Conflicts:



The following links give background information on the issue:

Quotes about compassion: 

Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, who said “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”. 

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960 

Kids and entitlement: 




The CFC campaign proves how generous we are as a community and how we take care of others.  Amy Poehler said “There are so many people in the world with so little. Who cares why you decide to help?”

Charity and giving is however an issue for some people, especially when connected to compassion, stewardship, entitlement, or empowerment. 

The opening question for the discussion is: “To whom should I give?”  

The following links give background information on the issue:

Quotes about compassion: is external)

 Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, who said “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”.

 “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

  Kids and entitlement: is external)


Panhandling: is external)


Poverty: is external)



Nov 19th “Interfaith Dialogue”   

The opening questions for the discussion are: “How do we move from the clash of civilizations to a dialogue of civilizations and find ways of relating to each other that are genuinely collaborative and go beyond mere tolerance? Is this even possible? What can I do personally?”  

Preparation materials:

TEDxDU The Interfaith Amigos: Breaking the taboos of interfaith dialogue

The theme of "Radical Collaboration" is personified in Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie, and Imam Jamal Rahman - collectively known as The Interfaith Amigos. In a time when religion appears to be at the heart of fragmentation, suspicion and conflict, their friendship is a beacon to a wiser, more compassionate, and hopeful path. is external) 

TEDxRainier - Interfaith Amigos is external)

The Necessity and Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue

Given the geopolitical state of our world today and the role that religions are playing in that world, the religious communities that populate our planet have reached a point in their history in which they must find a new way of relating to each other. They are being called to collaborate with each other rather than compete with each other. It is time to set aside their centuries long agenda of competing, fighting, and trying to replace each other and enter into a genuinely cooperative dialog of equals. Is this possible? How? (A lecture by Paul Knitter that was part of the 2014 Baldwin Wallace Faith & Life Lecture Series) is external)

Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian: The Challenge and Opportunity of “Double Belonging” is external)

Brian McLaren: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World

McLaren observes that two common approaches to Christian identity have been having a strong identity that is hostile to others or having a weak identity that is tolerant of others. He then suggests that it is possible to have a strong and benevolent religious identity. The problem isn’t having a strong identity, but rather building an identity of “us” around hostility to “them.” is external)

Brian McLaren: Beyond the Box Interview (90 minutes) is external)

The Heart of Faith: The Parliament of the World's Religions is external)

  Highlights from the discussion:

  • Having respect for others is universal and best shown by example
  • Discussing religion in a manner that seeks understanding reduces the fight
  • A reflective question is, "How does your spirituality help you interact with other people?"
  • Focus on the relationship to increase understanding 

"Glass Ceilings"

Preparation materials:

10 immediate actions you can take to shatter the glass ceiling

So We Leaned In, Now What?

Barriers for Women to Positions of Power

Oct 1, 2015 on NPR: Despite Improving Job Market, Blacks Still Face Tougher Prospects

 Highlights from the discussion:

  • There are physical barriers to achievement like geography and degree requirements, there are external barriers from gatekeepers and systems and there are internal barriers like self-doubt
  • Breaking barriers may not be a goal for many people
  • Support, mentorship, education and open door policies from leaders make a difference
  • Passion and persistence are essential especially to break our internal glass ceilings
  • Language can change attitudes and should be inclusive 

The “fixed mindset” or changing your mind

Preparation materials:

Highlights from the discussion: 

  • Mentorship and positive examples can helpinfluence a positive or growth mindset
  • When we are surrounded by like minded people we may not see our fixed or closed mindedness
  • Exposure to others open up our perspective and theirs
  • The discussions are a way to share views and to see other people's viewpoints

In recognition of the 4th of July, we discussed patriotism and grace.  While the two subjects seem very different, the majority of us are in the US because we were born here but we extend the privilege to others.  We are at a university of people dedicated to serving this country and we prove every day that working together takes and gives grace.

Preparation materials: is external) is external) is external)

Highlights from the discussion (Individual opionions represented):

  • America is not the same as it was in the past and we should expect the culture to be different in the future
  • Not all arguments against immigration are racially motivated, other immigrants may feel a sense of unfairness after following the rules
  • Historically there have been groups labeled as “outsiders”
  • Patriotism is as Mark Twain said, "I support my country all the time, and my government when it deserves it." 

Preparation materials: 

Current injustices: is external)

Availability Bias: is external)

Personal response to injustice: is external)

Highlights from the discussion:

  • Value those who are around you.
  • Our definitions of terms can reflect how we feel
  • Historical injustice is easily separated from current injustice for many people. (Jim Crow, slavery, Holocaust, etc.)
  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Ask questions
  • Develop relationships
  • Vote
  • Read and educate yourself  

Preparation materials:

Illusion of Transparency

Confirmatory bias

Confirmation bias

First Impression and First Impressions Count

Highlights from the discussion:

  • There was a question if first impressions are important and because of confirmation bias and the “Impostor syndrome” it is important to be aware of first impressions.
  • Everyone is concerned about first impressions
  • Having a mentor or sponsor or friend to guide you through new situations helps
  • Making an impression is a continuous act not a single event
  • When meeting a group, it only takes one person to make a new person feel less self-conscious and welcomed
  •  When presenting remember that you are the subject matter expert
  • Physical qualities influence impressions such as height, dress, positioning and grooming.  Be aware of what you can change  

Preparation materials:

Micro-agression: (disclaimer – one use of profanity) is external)

Micro-inequities: is external)  

Highlights from the discussion:

  • The consensus was that most people want to know when they offend someone else
  • We have to educate others because most comments are from ignorance
  • Power differentials can make educating more difficult
  • Apologizing is helpful
  • Many instances can be ignored
  • Find a phrase to point out the comment that fits for you, i.e. “Are you kidding”

Preparation materials:

This video is not an endorsement but only gives one perspective: is external)

In summary a Black woman was asked to verify her information when writing a check when her cousin who appears White was not treated the same way and confronts the person.  The storyteller shares her feelings and hesitation with the injustice.

Highlights from the discussion:

  • Anyone who has courage should speak up.
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated.
  • The military is not immune to this behavior.
  • Saying something gives power, acknowledgement and counters the victim mentality