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Got Om? Everyday Mindfulness in Tough Times

Presented by Auguste Fortin

This workshop will be low on content and high on experience of three mindfulness activities that can help us maintain presence and awareness in situations that call for courage and grace. We will begin by sharing what practices each of us currently have. We will discuss challenges to everyday mindfulness during debriefings of three mindfulness practices: mindful eating, body scan and sitting meditation. Depending on the amount of discussion, there will be an opportunity for mindful walking practice. My hope is that participants will leave this workshop with better-developed tools for maintaining moment-to-moment awareness, and that they will feel more at peace than when they arrived.


  1. Experience and debrief three mindfulness practices that can assist in maintaining presence and awareness in situations that call for courage and grace.
  2. Share best practices for maintaining mindfulness when the going gets tough!


I Know You, Thought I Haven't Met You:
Exploring Implicit Bias within Members of the HEALTH CARE Team


Presented by Kathleen Kieran and Melissa Times

While interpersonal communication skills are acknowledged as integral to team functioning, improved clinical outcomes, and higher provider satisfaction, most didactic material and research findings in this area center on “in the moment,” problem-focused communication, often surrounding team safety. Implicit bias surrounding the perceptions of one team member by another is an underexplored area. While we have all seen memes and popular media portrayals of various members of health care teams (nurses, surgeons, pathologists, to name just a few), the impact of one team member’s (often sub- or unconscious) assessment and expectations of another has not been studied. A cohesive, integrated team approach to patient care, medical education, and quality improvement increases patient confidence in providers, facilitates communication, and creates a culture of safety fostering quality improvement and personal growth.

In this workshop, we will explore what unconscious and subconscious biases we hold, how social and popular media (and medical training!) contribute to our perceptions of others, and how each of us might consciously and thoughtfully acknowledge and work to change how our own biases influence interactions with others.
This workshop *is* for participants who are interested in and committed to a creating a safe space for honest discussion around this important but often activating issue. This workshop is *not* for those who wish to explore their experiences in a purely anecdotal fashion (though discussion of personal experience is encouraged).

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1.  Describe how the words used to depict stereotypes for members of the health care team carry positive and negative connotations.
  2. Provide three examples of ways in which stereotypes and predetermined expectations for appearance and behavior impact how others interact with a member of the health care team, and how that health care team member interacts with other team members.
  3. Identify two ways to actively check assumptions and acknowledge implicit bias (positive and negative) among health care team members.


Improvisation, Mindfulness & Medicine

Presented by Lynda Tang, Matthew Russell, and Jan Veesart

"Prior Winter Courses have addressed issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, implicit bias as well as the effects of systemic oppression and they have increased our awareness of the various emotionally and socially precarious interactions found daily in our personal and professional lives. Recognition, however, is only the first step in managing potentially difficult interactions.
Improvisation provides a “safe” venue to explore our reactions to unexpected situations and to develop the confidence needed to effectively respond when interpersonal interactions go inexplicitly awry. Increasing our openness to new perspectives and our ability to spontaneously respond to the actions of others prepares us to more effectively intervene in situations causing pain and suffering to those around us. Through improvisation we can improved our skills in effective listening, person-centeredness, teamwork and communication.
Additionally, improvisation provides an opportunity to look at the world through a fresh lens and creates an environment where we can explore our perceptions and reactions to “reality” without being constrained by fear of failure or condemnation. Playful mindfulness encouraged by improvisation refines our attention, builds confidence, ignites collaboration and fires the imagination. Exploring and accepting our potential for risk taking and experiencing the survivability of “failure” rejuvenates the soul and energizes us to engage constructively with all those around us."


  1. Explore Improvisation as a tool for enhancing interpersonal communication skills and collaboration as well as improving individual adaptability needed to handle unexpected situations encountered daily in medicine
  2. Enhance confidence, risk taking and spontaneity and normalize failure through improvisation activities
  3. Cultivate mindfulness through improvisation exercises to reduce stress and find joy in everyday activities

Seeing: The Unique Contribution of Individual Perspectives

Presented by Sally Fortner and Tina Foster

In this workshop we will discuss the contribution of unique perspective and explore this with digital photographs. The photographs will be shared in pairs and the unique perspectives observed will then be discussed in the broader group. The group will then discuss how an individual perspective informs the group learning.


  1. Describe the impact of individual perspective on what is seen
  2. Create and share digital photographs that highlight individual perspective
  3. Discuss how the unique perspective of each individual brings richness to the group conversation

 The Enneagram as a Tool for Empathic Personal and Interpersonal Awareness and Growth

Presented by Laura Kirk

The Enneagram is a 9-type system of understanding personality which is dynamic, interconnected, and growth-oriented by design. Our degree of attachment to our core identity (ie: Enneagram type) and associated coping mechanisms is inversely related to our ability to mindfully engage with others in a partnership or healing capacity. Our own view of ourselves may be less than empathic, resulting in pain inflicted upon self and others. Through use of the Enneagram as a tool for self-awareness and transformative growth, and via the modality of small group interaction, this workshop aims to equip participants for internalized and externalized empathy, as well as identification of growth opportunities in interactions across personality difference.


  1. Debrief workshop prework of Enneagram type identification exercises (free links for required prework as well as optional additional resources will be provided in advance).
  2. Leverage group interaction and story-telling to grow in: vulnerability regarding our own personality, empathy toward self and others, and identification of our impact on others.
  3. With facilitator and small-group support, identify key opportunities for growth in communicating across personality difference.