Catalyst kickoff, community discussion sessions

Dear School of Medicine Community,

We have progress to report from the Executive Faculty Task Force on Climate and Culture regarding our work to ensure our campus is a safe and inclusive place for all who study and work here.

The formal kickoff with Catalyst begins this month. In last month’s message, we told you about Catalyst, an external consulting group that is providing guidance to help us see and understand what can lead to people feeling marginalized on our campus. Working with Catalyst, we are now in the process of gathering data on our past and current climate and culture. We have organized focus groups and leadership interviews for April and May. In late spring or early summer, you can expect to receive a climate survey administered by Catalyst. We look forward to your engagement – we want to hear your voices!

As part of our relationship with Catalyst, the School of Medicine is now part of Catalyst’s Supporter network, allowing us access to extensive data-driven research and learning resources. This membership means all School of Medicine faculty, staff, students and trainees now have access to an extensive library of online materials.

To access this network, register for Catalystusing your email address. After registering and signing in, you will have access to data, learning programs, tools, courses, webinar recordings, and other Catalyst resources designed to help improve climate and culture in the workplace. 

Last month, we also launched our Community Discussion Sessions. Students and postdocs participated in the first sessions, led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and InclusionIn April and May 2023, we will hold additional sessions for residents and fellows, staff, and faculty. Please click on Community Discussion Sessions to register. We aim to provide space for you to come together and reflect on our culture and climate. The sessions are facilitated using a restorative justice approach to acknowledge harm and support healing. Discussion themes (but not specific case details or personal identifiers) will be summarized and reported to the Task Force.

If you have questions or feedback for the Task Force, we encourage you to reach out via the online form or email us at For more information about the Task Force, please visit our website,

Thank you for your efforts in helping the School of Medicine be the best it can be. We always welcome your input as we strive to build a climate and culture embraced by our campus community.

Most sincerely,

Benjamin Garcia, PhD, co-chair
Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Dineo Khabele, MD, co-chair
Mitchell & Elaine Yanow Professor and Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Renée Shellhaas, MD, MS, administrative director
David T. Blasingame Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean for Faculty Promotions & Career Development