I2C2 Graphic

The Office of Identity, Inclusion, and Collective Conscience (I2C2) was established in 2020 as part of the department’s efforts to celebrate diversity and increase understanding of the inequalities that exist within healthcare systems. The office will work alongside the department and the CU2RE program to educate students and faculty on the importance of elevating diverse voices and addressing health disparities, racism, and access to care issues within their profession.

I2Cis driven by an anti-oppression mission that responds to all forms of oppression, inclusive of well-known “isms,” but also “hidden” oppressive organizational practices and structures. The office intends to push current boundaries of DEI practice in the health sector to advance beyond bare minimum aspirations to a bolder vision of participatory action, sincerely inclusive of all stakeholders, against oppression of all forms. The operational work centers around an emerging practice framework created by the inaugural director, Brandi Shah, M.D., MPH.

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Mission

To intentionally cultivate a departmental co-learning community that is broadly inclusive, equitable, just and responsive in valuing and incorporating contributions of all stakeholders’ intersectional identities and roles within the department, institution, and broader community.

Vision

To create and lead dynamic, bold, participatory processes and approaches that build upon foundational diversity and inclusion efforts to authentically nurture collaborations and lead systemic change.

Anti-Oppression Concept of the Month

March - Intersectionality

Racial identity development theory applies to all of us when we consider the social-cultural history and system that has evolved around us since the inception of the United States. Racial identity development theory provides insights for "how people in various racial groups and with multiracial identities form their particular self-concept. It describes phases in reforming that identity based on learning and awareness of systems of privilege and structural racism, cultural, and historical meanings attached to racial categories and overarching social factors like globalization, technology, immigration and evolving multiracial population." In order to understand how people from different races internalize their racial identity, we need to also understand the influences that impact how we internalize our own racial identity. Upstream from this, we need to understand how the idea and function of race has been constructed and reconstructed over our long racialized history.

Resources: 

  1. Racial Equity Tools

  2. Reflection exercise with focus on the individual assessment portion

  3. The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison

  4. White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

  5. UAB College of Arts and Sciences newsletter with focus on human rights research, outreach, and education

  6. Racist Attack on Asian Medical Student Prompts Pleas for Tolerance

April - Cultural Competence and Cultural Humility

These are terms that are often used interchangeably, yet also demonstrate a tension in how we address and engage with primarily others’ cultural identification and experiences. Both terms speak to the imperative for health professionals to practice and serve with a commitment to intercultural acceptance and dignity. Cultural humility also encourages people to reflect on how their own cultural identities influence their practice and interactions. Here are the two original definitions of the terms, as well as an updated understanding (with historical references) in applying the concepts more fluidly and inclusively for the lifelong, everyday work of acting with both competence and humility when it comes to multidimensional, intercultural exchange.

  • Cultural competence comprises behaviors, attitudes, and policies that can come together on a continuum that will ensure that a system, agency, program, or individual can function effectively and appropriately in diverse cultural interaction and settings. It ensures an understanding, appreciation, and respect of cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between groups.

  • Cultural humility incorporates a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, to redressing the power imbalances in the patient-physician dynamic, and to developing mutually beneficial and non-paternalistic clinical and advocacy partnerships with communities on behalf of individuals and defined populations.

Resources:

Present-day commentary on the relevance of both terms

Video series on cultural humility

For those with or around children: Sesame Street Communities on Racial Justice

May - Special Message from Director Brandi Shah, M.D., MPH

As we move beyond one of the most humanity-defining trials of our time, regardless of the outcome, I encourage you to truly sit with the truth that many fellow humans you respect, understand/misunderstand, think you know well/barely know, share in community-building--suffer, love and thrive in the same world context very differently than you. Reconciliation requires continual, mutually healing, brave processes with all of us as actors.

"Reconciliation is the long-term process by which the parties to a violent dispute build trust, learn to live cooperatively and create a stable peace. It can happen at the individual level, the community level, and the national level. It may involve dialogue, admissions of guilt, judicial processes, truth commissions, ritual forgiveness, and sulha (a traditional Arabic form of ritual forgiveness and restitution)." -United States Institute of Peace

“Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples.” -Rigoberta Menchu

June- Special Message from Director Brandi Shah, M.D., MPH

June is the month of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere which falls on June 20th this year. The solstice heralds the second half of the year with celebration, renewal, vitality—perhaps more significant this year as we regain a sense of familiarity, health, safety and freedom as COVID hopefully continues its retreat in the US.

The solstice is a mid-point opportunity to reflect on where we started 2021 and where we are headed, and how we move forward together so that we all experience the health, safety, freedom and restoration of the season. June is full of historical and inclusive events, and I encourage you to take a close look at the department’s calendar (see Shyla if you haven’t gotten one), educate yourself and ask questions where needed, strike up conversations to learn more about each other and plans for the summer.

"Green was the silence, wet was the light
the month of June trembled like a butterfly." -Pablo Neruda

July - Intersectionality Resources

As we bring to a close six months of multifaceted national commemoration, I’d like to draw attention to the idea of intersectionality and honor the rich complexity of our identities and lived experience. Significant months (not all-inclusive) celebrated this year included Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Arab American Heritage Month (April), Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May), Jewish American Heritage Month (May), Mental Health Awareness Month (May), Pride Month (June). This array of celebrations of identity and experience are a visible way for us all to recognize each other’s multidimensionality not only as representation of one single category in our collective frame but for the multitude of ways that these identities/experiences intersect within people’s lives at the individual level.

Intersectionality is a concept and term coined and developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer-scholar-activist who works at the intersections of social justice, critical race theory and gender equality. This TED Talk features Crenshaw presenting a poignant review and contemporary relevance of intersectionality today. You can also follow her podcast. Though it originated with the reality of intersectional discrimination and oppressions that uniquely affect Black women, the concept is being used more inclusively to invite everyone to think about how interconnected, overlapping features of our identity impact how we experience community and the world. The concept has become vital to how we might more authentically understand each other’s assets, needs, connections, challenges, oppressions across society that it is defined in the Oxford Dictionary and easily researchable on Google.

For those of you who participated in the Invisible Identities icebreaker during the listening sessions, intersectionality is the concept undergirding the realities of how our “visibilities” and “invisibilities” influence our understanding of ourselves, interactions with others, and lived experience. Reach out with any questions, curiosities or more resources.

August - The Cut Curb Effect

Disability rights and justice form a critical part of the spine of anti-oppression work. Historically, people with disabilities have suffered social neglect, stereotyping, stigmatization, marginalization and biopsychosocial inequities--similar to other populations seen as vulnerable and minoritized. And, across this continuum of lived experience, the movement for disability rights and justice has made cross-cutting contributions to our understanding of how to aspire to be an anti-oppressive society. One concrete example of this is what is known as the Curb Cut Effect. This effect occurs when we as a society, through our various levels of influence and action, prioritize interventions that center the least visible and most marginalized so that they--and all of us by association--can have full, accessible and equitable participation in our shared communities. I encourage you to read the article and think about the last time you easily crossed a street with a suitcase or a stroller--or just crossed the street without thinking about taking an unnecessary step up or down.

To retrospectively celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Disability Pride Month, the upcoming book club will honor our differently-abled and disabled community members with Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong.

Volunteer Opportunities and Community Events

Be a Blessing Birmingham

On the third Saturday of each month, the Be a Blessing Birmingham team transports tubs of sorted clothes, shoes, snacks, and 200 packed bags to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. There they set up distribution lines and provide breakfast for our neighbors.

Each person receives a hygiene kit, two rolls of toilet paper, a pair of socks, and bottled water. Women receive additional products to cater to individual needs. They provide each person with an outfit, a pair of shoes, and season-appropriate aids to remain comfortable no matter the weather.

Volunteer

UAB Medicine Diversity Calendar

Lister Hill Center for Health Policy

Birmingham Events

 

Resources

Book Club

On the last Friday of each month, the office hosts a virtual book club from 12-1 PM. Please contact Shyla K. Fields for more information.

March
I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

April
Minor Feelings: an Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

May
The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice by Fania E. Davis

June/July
My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem

August
Disability Visibility by Alice Wong

Department Listening Session Report

Click here to view the report made by the I2C2 team after conducting listening sessions with various groups within the Department of Family and Community Medicine. 

More Resources

A full resource list, compiled by the I2C2 team, is available for personal and professional learning and growth. Click here to view the list. Please email Shyla Fields with questions.

Meet the Team

Shah

Brandi Shah, M.D., MPH
Director, Office of Identity, Inclusion, and Collective Conscience
brandishah@uabmc.edu

Fields

Shyla Fields
Program Manager, Office of Identity, Inclusion, and Collective Conscience
skcampbell@uabmc.edu