The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will host three Lunch and Learn sessions in March and April and a wrap-up luncheon in May. The programs were started last fall as a way to increase sensitivity and awareness to diversity issues among the school’s faculty, staff, and students.

“Attendance for the Lunch and Learn sessions has surpassed our expectations, averaging about 30 people per event,” said Karen Eley Sanders, chief diversity officer for the school. “We’ve had excellent speakers and a lot of meaningful discussion. In light of the positive feedback, we plan to offer a number of the programs again next academic year.”

Individuals who participate in 12 or more hours of diversity awareness education, either through the Lunch and Learn sessions or other pre-approved events, will earn a Diversity Associate Certificate. 

Speakers have included Michele James-Deramo, director of diversity education initiatives at Virginia Tech; Alicia Cohen, associate director of diversity education and initiatives at Virginia Tech; Jamie Washington, president of the Washington Consulting Group; and Dr. David Weismiller, associate professor of family medicine, East Carolina University, on gender identity and expression.

Three of the remaining programs will feature Dale Robinson, assistant director for training, education, and outreach at Virginia Tech. In this role, Robinson makes available a variety of conflict resolution processes and strategies, including mediation to faculty and staff to enable them to resolve disputes in the university setting. He also serves as a resource in investigating harassment and discrimination complaints for the university’s human resources department. Robinson is a Virginia-certified mediator and a member of the Virginia Mediation Network.

The programs are open to all Virginia Tech Carilion faculty, staff, and students as well as physicians, administrators, and employees at Carilion Clinic. The presentations are free and run from 12 to 2 p.m. in room M210 at the school. Lunch is provided, but registration is required.

The remaining Diversity Lunch and Learn programs for this spring are listed below.

Wednesday, March 18

Title IX Expectations Within a Respectful Environment This session will address strategies to prevent sexual misconduct, with a special emphasis on the responsibilities that faculty, staff, and students have in maintaining a respectful environment.

Tuesday, April 14

Understanding Ourselves and Our Multicultural Conflict Dynamics I In this session, participants will learn about the constructive and destructive responses to conflict and develop a better understanding of the consequences of conflict in a multicultural setting. Participants will also learn the value of taking perspective and utilizing communication skills to better address a disagreement, dispute, or conflict when it arises. Program participants will be provided with a Conflict Dynamics Development Guide and additional workshop materials. As a prerequisite, participants will be expected to complete a Conflict Dynamics Profile, a confidential self-assessment tool.

Tuesday, April 21

This will be a continuation of Robinson’s April 14 workshop.