May 23, 2018

The Common Thread: Announcing the release of the Building Belonging module

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commonThe absence of a sense of belonging can lead to lower morale, higher attrition, and an uncomfortable, or even toxic, workplace culture. Unfortunately, building belonging isn’t something that happens by chance—it takes a series of intentional, determined actions and a dedication on the part of all leaders and employees.

This is the beginning of the message of “Building Belonging,” the first in a 4-module series from an exciting new “toolkit” designed to provide all staff, faculty, trainees and students with the practical resources to build a strong, resilient and healthy environment. The toolkit is entitled “The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone” and deals with essential topics in cultural inclusion.

“Building Belonging” discusses the crucial nature of intentionally fostering inclusivity within the workplace and learning environment. Successfully piloted during Patient Experience Week in April 2018, this module includes an introductory video and a series of TED Talk-style speeches featuring UAB’s Michael Saag, M.D., which covers all components of the module. The toolkit also offers downloadable print resources with discussion questions, citations and the PowerPoint presentation used by Saag during his speech. All of these resources are available through the toolkit website.

“The Common Thread” adopts a revolutionary new approach to questions of diversity and inclusion by proposing that diversity efforts by themselves are not only insufficient, but often can be counterproductive. Diversity, which empirical data indicates leads to greater innovation, insight, excellence and profitability, is only successful when paired with intentional inclusivity initiatives. The toolkit offers practical resources for building that inclusivity.

Future modules that are scheduled to be released beginning in June will deal with the topics of Understanding Bias, Cultivating Self-Awareness, and Resolving Conflict.

“It is essential for UAB’s institutional excellence that we embrace a paradigm where our differences—along with our similarities—are embraced and celebrated,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S., senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “In order to move effectively into the future, we must leverage the strength in our diversity. This toolkit offers practical and meaningful tools to realize this vision.”

More information can be found at