Cohorts for Change Facilitator: John Cullen

John will facilitate the third workshop of the CLIC Cohorts for Change anti-racism series, “Undoing the Historical Legacy of Racism in Research.” Cohorts for Change is a 6-month training program focusing on giving participants the knowledge and skills to further develop structural and administrative anti-racism initiatives within their CTSA Program hub. The series combines monthly live group discussions and activities with experienced facilitators plus asynchronous learning opportunities to facilitate short and long-term change.

Background: John P. Cullen, PhD, is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the University of Rochester CTSI, and Associate Director of the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University of Rochester. He has been with the UR Medical Center for 22 years, conducting both basic science and clinical research for 15 years, before transitioning to work in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion. John also serves as the CTSI Strategic Director of Population Health and Community Engagement Function leader.

He is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and supportive workplace, and his efforts have led to the delivery of workshops and statewide and national conferences that address racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ healthcare and disparities in conducting health research and in the delivery of medical services.

What interests you personally about the Cohorts for Change Workshop Series?

This group put themselves forward knowing that as discomforting as it may be, conversations about race are necessary, and we need to lean into this discomfort if we are to grow as individuals and organizations. I am really interested to learn how the cohort approach will work in this six-month series and how it has the potential to foster more open, authentic dialogue and in-depth discussions between participants. I am also excited to see how these groups develop action plans for their hubs through this collaborative approach.

What are three takeaways you hope the pilot group of participants will have from the Cohorts for Change series?

First, is the need to be transparent about where their organization is on the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization. Second, is moving beyond the question “how do we become an anti-racist organization?” to “what resources do we need in order to do that?” Finally, is the need for authenticity when they do this work – saying what they mean and meaning what they say.

You will know the pilot of the Cohorts for Change Anti-Racism Workshop series was successful when… we see participants being comfortable with being uncomfortable and recognizing that race is ever present and it shapes all of our interactions even when we are not aware.