University of Illinois Chicago, Department of Medicine received a $20,000 grant from leading internal medicine organizations to improve the quality of its education and training program and build a more trustworthy health care system. The award, presented by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the ABIM Foundation, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, is one of 24, totaling $400,000.

This grant will allow University of Illinois Chicago, Department of Medicine to address microaggressions in the workplace with the aim to enhance workplace satisfaction and minimize burnout that can affect patient care. This project is being led by Dr. Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, FACP and a team of dedicated faculty and staff in the Department of Medicine. Over two years, the team will enhance a current microaggressions reporting system and use the reported incidents to develop ongoing interactive workshops on how to address microaggressions in the workplace. Tackling workplace microaggressions can improve understanding and trust between colleagues leading to more inclusive environments, less fatigue from stressors, and increased well-being. These components can potentially lead to improved job satisfaction and better patient care. Furthermore, increased workplace inclusivity will attract more diverse trainees, faculty, and staff and improve retention of the healthcare workforce.

Microaggressions are subtle statements rooted in implicit bias and can negatively affect both interactions among colleagues at all levels and patient care. In general, 60% of Americans have witnessed or potentially witnessed a microaggression in the workplace. Research has shown that microaggressions in the healthcare workplace affect job satisfaction and mental health. Furthermore, burnout from encountering microaggressions can lead to medical errors and decreased patient satisfaction. Therefore, addressing microaggressions is vital to improving the wellness and mental well-being of medical professionals, enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and improving patient care.

“Our team of physicians, residents, nurses, and staff are excited about this opportunity from the grant program to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the Department of Medicine.  These efforts will enhance our workforce well-being and support culturally sensitive patient care,” said Dr. Alana Biggers, Program Lead for DEI Grant, Co-Chair, Department of Medicine Inclusion Council, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

“We must intentionally increase diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives and learnings within medical education and training as a fundamental component to improving medical efficacies for all populations,” said Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, president of ACP. “Through these grants, ACP is proud to further stimulate and accelerate activities across the nation toward advancing equity.”