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    Understanding Allyship and Responding to Microaggressions through Bystander Intervention Workshops

    In this two-part workshop series sponsored by the Group on Institutional Planning (GIP), participants had the opportunity to explore allyship and how to respond to microaggressions through bystander intervention. Experiences of bias, harassment and microaggressions is an expanding area of focus for faculty, administrators, and leaders in the health professions as awareness of the enormous prevalence of these experiences has increased. Research on microaggressions and bias has shown to have significant negative impacts on individual confidence, physical health, and overall wellbeing. Therefore, more education and training on responding to microaggressions through bystander intervention is sorely needed in academic medicine.

    Part one began with basic information on implicit bias as a function of power and privilege, as well as behavior strategies for developing allies. Participants learned that a culture of respect and accountability is created and maintained through everyday acts of allyship, small and large.

    During part two, participants explored bystander intervention methodologies, barriers, and implicit biases to overcome as a bystander, as well as strategies to respond to microaggressions. Participants also learned organizational strategies for implementing and maintaining bystander intervention and allyship programs (within departments, centers, and institutes) and at the institutional level. Participants gathered both bystander intervention skills as well as generated ideas for how to institutionalize allyship behaviors for maximum impact.

    Part One Learning Objectives - Identity, Power, and Allyship Introduction

    • Reflected on one's own power, privilege, and positionality
    • Understood how workplace microaggressions create hostile environments
    • Explored allyship strategies that support everyone to create more respectful and inclusive workplace environments

    Part Two Learning Objectives - Bystander Intervention Strategies

    • Brief review of Part One concepts
    • Reviewed language to use when acting as an ally
    • Explored bystander intervention strategies to create more respectful and inclusive environments
    • Group brainstorm on possible ways to intervene and support others


    Diana Lautenberger, MA
    Director, Faculty and Staff Research
    Medical School Operations Research
    Association of American Medical Colleges