College of

Culture of Caring

As our ability to deliver in person events dwindled during COVID-19, we began to send brief notes of inspiration and support. Please find them here along with some related pieces written for The Conversation.

Words of Wellness


Feeling a bit gloomy during a recent short, cold November day, I found myself (not following my own advice) engaging in doom scrolling in semi darkness. Among the memes and outrage, I found a quote that made me pause. Read more.



Have you given any thought to self-compassion lately? Maybe it’s time. Why is self-compassion relevant? We have all been buffeted by so many changes. Many completely unexpected and resulting in multiple rapid course corrections. Most resulting in needing to shift the way we do things. Read more.



This past weekend I had the opportunity to witness an open mind. The willingness to consider a different perspective and a subsequent thirst for more exposure to varying points of view was an honor to witness. For my friend, this perspective shift was nothing short of electric and energizing.
Read more.



This Culture of Caring note may seem somewhat runner-focused but bear with me. I signed up to participate a half marathon in September and have been training for weeks. Each time I run, many lessons come into my mind that are applicable to life in general. So, I’m going to share my own lessons and reflections so far. Read more.



I’d like to encourage us all to take this as a period of gradual reemergence rather than as grudging re-entry. We can take a look at our relationship to our work, to our peers, to how we would like to show up, not only at work, but in the world at large. Read more.


MAY 12, 2021

After a long year of change and adjusting to ever shifting goalposts of “the new normal” we seem to be heading out of the worst of it. There is cautious optimism about the months ahead based on current trends. Along with optimism, there is a vague pervasive anxiety about how to navigate the times ahead. Read more.



Anxious about going out into the world? You’re not alone, but there’s help. In an article on The Conversation, Dr. Claudia Finkelstein offers advice on how to deal with anxiety due to the pandemic. Read more.


MARCH 26, 2021

After a year of waiting, waiting some more, and asking ourselves ‘when it will end?’ there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. So, it may come as a surprise to notice anxiety – and maybe even dread – about what will happen when “it’s over.” Read more.


MARCH 9, 2021

Among the many tired clichés that have been used about getting through this pandemic, is “this is a marathon not a sprint.” This got me thinking – a good metaphor for where we are now is the “wall” that runners hit. Typically, this occurs when reserves of stored energy are depleted. Read more.

FEBRUARY 12, 2021

While reflecting, I drafted a ‘words of wellness’ update. I wrote it, re-wrote it, asked for feedback, and edited over the last week and it continued to fall short. I was writing about the importance of culture change, transparency, and psychological safety. Before hitting “send” I reread the piece and it rang hollow. Keep reading if you’d like to know why. Read more.

JANUARY 15, 2021

As we awaited the end of 2020 and were hoping for brighter days ahead, 2021 had other plans. At this stage of the pandemic, all metaphors have been exhausted. It is a marathon not a sprint. It is a time of reckoning. It is unprecedented (maybe). Read more.

OCTOBER 30, 2020

Claudia Finkelstein, MDCM, Director of Wellness, Resilience And Vulnerable Populations, offers tips for helping students navigate polarizing pandemic election times. Read more.


AUGUST 19, 2020

As September rapidly approaches, so do questions of returning to school, work, and sports – safely – in person, in a “hybrid” way, or at all. Questions about the wisdom of every decision abound. There are many conflicting truths and needs to attend to. Read more.


JUNE 16, 2020

I had planned to write a COVID-19 re-entry toolkit for this episode of the Culture of Caring newsletter. It will come. However, there is still much to be discussed and learned about racism and anti-racism. Read more.


JUNE 3, 2020

Are you feeling powerless as an ally right now? Here are some actions you can consider. Read more. 



MAY 13, 2020

We have been at this a long time. We have been bombarded with coping strategies, exercise sites, and possible pandemic self-improvement projects. At some point we just need to take a break from the heaviness of it all and embrace levity. Read more. 



In an article on The Conversation, Claudia Finkelstein, MD, Jennifer E. Johnson, PhD, and Julia Felton, PhD, write about the need to focus on our "emotional protective equipment" as reopening begins in uncertain coronavirus times. Read more.


APRIL 14, 2020

We have heard that some members of our College of Human Medicine community are feeling that the Culture of Caring is really “only for survivors” particularly because of the use of the term Trauma Informed Principles. Read more.


APRIL 3, 2020

As we approach the second week of the governor’s order to ‘Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.’ many of you may have noticed swings in emotions, energy levels, motivation and anxiety. Read more. 


MARCH 23, 2020

It is a time of balance in uncertainty. We need to stay informed without being overloaded. We need to stay careful and responsible without panicking. We need to adjust our daily schedules… the list goes on. Read more.