Faculty Education on Fostering Equity and Belonging (FEB) Challenge

Dear colleagues,

The inaugural year of the FEB challenge was a success, with ~200 members from 25 departments at UPSOM and its administrative offices participating. The offices of Medical Education and Faculty affairs, are offering the challenge again, to continue to increase our collective understanding of fostering equity and belonging in our curriculum and learning environment. 

This challenge is modelled after the United Way Race Equity Challenge that occurred in 2020.

For our own homegrown challenge, we will offer 12 opportunities for growth in this area and ask faculty to complete the activities at their own pace and participate in our online learning community in Elentra. 

The challenge will begin on February 1s and conclude on February 28th, however the materials will remain available afterwards. Following completion of the challenge, each participant who completes the post survey will receive a certificate, which provides an excellent opportunity to highlight your participation in the DEI section on your CV.

The department with the highest percentage of faculty who actively participate (complete at least 10 activities), will win a special luncheon and an award! We will also have a raffle for two lucky individuals to win either an iPad or an Apple watch.

GETTING STARTED: Welcome to the 28-Day Faculty Education on Fostering Equity and Belonging (FEB) Challenge. Thank you for your commitment to making Pittmed a place where all can enjoy full membership and belonging.

WHY THE CHALLENGE? The learning climate at Pittmed is one that we strive to make supportive for all learners to achieve their highest potential. Click here for a brief video!

WHAT TO EXPECT: You will have 12 opportunities for learning during the month of February, with breaks for reflection and rejuvenation. Each item will have a short description of the available activities, as well as an estimate of the average time it might take to complete the activity. Though this is a self-paced exercise, you will be in community with your colleagues who are taking this challenge alongside you.  The online learning community is an opportunity to connect, discuss and galvanize us to put our learning into action.

There are many ways to embrace and interact with the challenge, including: 

LEARN - Read, watch, or listen to the content for the day.

REFLECT - Think about the questions that are offered for self-reflection, and note down your responses.

CONNECT - Talk with your colleagues, family, and friends, or post in the Elentra community.

TAKE ACTION – Make a difference that increases belonging in our learning environment.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Act: Commit to active participation in the challenge, register and take the pledge. Review the following video to understand why we as a community of educators, are undergoing this challenge.

Item 1: Set the stage: Read “What Does It Take To Build A Culture Of Belonging” – Harvard Business Review (reading, 5 minutes)


  • Identify one strategy that you feel that you can incorporate in your day-to-day interactions with your colleagues and students.

Item 2: Learn about belonging in medical education“Belonging, Respectful Inclusion, and Diversity in Medical Education” – An article by the editor of Academic Medicine, reviewing the current landscape of medical education (reading, 15 minutes).


  • What were you surprised to learn about?
  • What policies do you think could help to mitigate this? 

Item 3: Psychological Safety: “Psychological safety stems from the work by Amy Edmondson, and refers to a working or learning environment that is safe for expressing vulnerability, sharing perspectives, and taking risks without fear of retribution or humiliation.” Psychological Safety as an Educational Value in Interprofessional Health Education (reading, 10 minutes).


  • What tool will you use to ensure psychological safety in your learning spaces?
  • Consider how you can use this concept in clinical work spaces.

Item 4: Who is in your trusted 10?The trusted 10 are people who we are most likely to feel comfortable with, to collaborate with, work with or mentor as proteges. This might be a surrogate for our implicit bias (video, 5 minutes).


  • What characteristics do the people in your trusted 10 share? Are these characteristics that you also share?
  • How could you diversify your trusted 10? Particularly in relationship to whom you mentor.

Bonus: Complete an Implicit Association Test (IAT). Choose at least one from the following options – gender/career; skin tone, sexuality, gender/science, race, age, disability, weight (interactive test, 20 minutes).


  • Were you surprised by your IAT results? 
  • Do you believe them? What changes do you plan to make due to these results? 

Item 5: Trauma informed Medical Education – “Just in TIME: Trauma-Informed Medical Education” – an article describing a model that aims to foster awareness that students and trainees can experience trauma from a biased system and culture and advocates for the establishment of policies and practices that support learners to prevent further re-traumatization (reading, 20 minutes).


  • What do you think of the concept of trauma informed medical education?
  • Can you think of an educational situation where using a trauma informed approach would be useful?
  • Which of the four principles of TIME will you adopt as an individual?

Item 6: Read weight bias in medical curricula (reading, 5 minutes).


  • What is your reaction to this? Do you use language which might be considered to be stigmatizing? 
  • What is your personal relationship with weight? How do you approach this discussion in your teaching/clinical work?

Item 7: Reflect on how disability can impact the most mundane life activities Wilson, Britney. (2017) The Longest Distance Between Two Points [Audio podcast, 12 minutes]. This American Life: Expect Delays, Act III

Alternatively, you may read a written version here.


  • Now consider your clinical environment where you have learners, if Brittany Wilson was a learner working with you, how might the environment be accommodating or challenging for her?
  • Considering that not all disabilities are physical, what might be a universal precaution that you might use with learners (discuss on Elentra).

Item 8: Abled-privilege checklist. This list is meant to serve as an educational tool to help people with and without disabilities become more aware of everyday interactions or observances that are impacted by ableism. Ableism is an entire way of thinking and doing that harms disabled people by treating some types of bodies and minds as valuable, worthy, and desirable, and others as undesirable and unworthy (activity, 10 minutes).

Read a short article: “You Belong in the Room: Addressing the Underrepresentation of Physicians with Physical Disabilities” The authors present four constructive actions to address the underrepresentation of individuals with physical disabilities in medical schools (reading, 7 minutes).


  • Did anything on the list surprise you through the lens of viewing it as a privilege?
  • How can medical education better support individuals with disabilities?

Item 9: Watch video on faculty response to being “called out” (video, 16 minutes). 

How can we foster belonging for students who are LGBTQIA+? Read section 3 on classroom culture; pages 22 -24 (reading, 10 minutes).


  • What is your response to being called out? 
  • How do you set an environment that allows all members of the team to “call out?”

Item 10: Religion (or lack of), spirituality and cultural practices, are important parts of one’s identity.  There are religions are understood as a dominant part of the U.S. culture, while there are some that are not as well understood due to marginalization. This can be pertinent for students as well as during patient encounters.

Read: Medical School Accommodations for Religious and Cultural Practices (reading, 7 minutes)

Read: Fostering Discussion When Teaching Abortion and Other Morally and Spiritually Charged Topics (reading, 7 minutes)


  • How do your life experiences with religion impact your interaction with others who have religious conflicts within a medical education or clinical context?

Item 11: Consider the experience of students who identify as LGBTQ, learn about the perception of the medical school learning environment (read abstract, 5 minutes)

Read: Burnout and Perception of Medical School Learning Environments Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Medical Students

How can we foster belonging for students who are LGBTQIA+? Read section 3 on classroom culture (pages 22-24) (reading, 10 minutes) 


GOOD ALLIES BEGIN WITH SELF-REFLECTION. Being an effective LGBTQ ally requires significant self-reflection and a strong sense of one’s own relationship with gender identity and sexual orientation.  

Take time to consider these questions:  

  • What messages did I learn about sexual orientation or gender growing up? 
  • Did I ever feel pressure to conform to cultural expectations related to my gender?  
  • Did I ever judge others for not conforming to these cultural norms? If so, where did these beliefs or judgments originate?  
  • What messages—both implicit and explicit— do I convey to my students about sexual orientation or gender?  

Item 12: Mental health and Medical Education –

Read: Student wellness trends and interventions in medical education: a narrative review (reading, 20 minutes)

Watch: Physicians Connected (video, 4 minutes)

Bonus: Do No Harm: Exposing the Hippocratic Hoax (reading, 5 minutes)


  • Has your mental health or wellness been impacted over the course of your medical education training?
  • Develop 2 strategies to support your learners’ wellbeing (post on discussion board)

Bonus Item: Did you get through all of the items in record speed? Learn more about the impact of health care on the climate from Dr. Noe Copley Woods, Assistant Dean for Sustainability. 

Thank you for participating in the 2024 FEB Challenge. We hope that you have gained something useful from this experience.  Please reflect and commit to 3 changes you will incorporate in your teaching.  Complete survey here to document your participation, receive your certificate and to be considered for raffle drawings.