BUILD PODER Mentor Training in culturally humble mentoring is intended to provide an overview (Entry Training), focus (Year 2) and deepening of the understanding and implementation of the principles of Critical Race Theory (CRT; Years 3 and 4).
Years 1 and 2: Entry and Implementing culturally humble mentoring
Our initial training in Year 1 prepared our mentors for our initial Year 2 students. Jones Inclusive, our entry mentor trainers for four years thus far, was “Founded in 1983, our mission is to develop leaders and systems that counter oppression through diversity, inclusion, and organizational effectiveness”(Quoted from jonesinclusive.com/about.html). Entry BUILD PODER Mentor Training is a 16-hour workshop that introduces new mentors to four modules for understanding Critical Race Theory from a theoretical perspective, for self-exploration into one’s own culture, and understanding and role playing around concepts such as microaggressions and micro-affirmations, stereotype threat, unconscious bias, and White privilege. In Year 1 we prepared our first cohort of mentors for our first student cohort. In year 2, we asked faculty about the implementation of CRT in mentoring, focused on their specific concerns, and role played possible mentoring changes that include concepts learned in the Entry training.
Recognizing that critical race theory requires an understanding of both context and daily encounters with racism, Year 3 training differed significantly in addressing structural and historical racism, dysconsciousness, new ways of conceptualizing research questions and methods, interrupting racism, and counter-storytelling.
Year 3 Mentor Trainers: Deepening the Understanding of Critical Race Theory and its Structural Implications for Education and Science
In Year 3, three trainers devise a training that deepened mentors’ understanding of racial dynamics by introducing structural and historical racism and its ties to our everyday lives, centering the idea of “The single story”, or overcoming our natural tendencies to see our students as far less complex than they really are by listening more closely and understanding that their experiences are different from our own. Deepening CRT means becoming aware of the ways we push away from consciousness the harsh realities of war, human trafficking, and racism (dysconsciousness). By becoming more aware of the contexts that support racist ideologies and practices, we can begin to interrupt them and form research questions and methods that reflect the strengths of vulnerable communities and that accurately reflect their concerns and the interventions that will best meet their needs. Rather than relying on current knowledge only, BUILD PODER builds transformative notions of science by challenging students and faculty to understand their research and its broader aims to increase health equity and to generate a society that provides health care as a human right.
Year 3 Mentor Trainers
Formerly of Social Work
Year 4 Mentor Trainers: Theatre of the Oppressed as a Means of Visceral Learning and Listening
BP mentor training in Year 4 drew on Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), developed by Brazilian Augusto Boal (1931-2009; Boal, 1979), a world-renown theatre artist whose innovative and humanistic techniques have been used to combat oppression broadly, from peasant workers and business owners, for over 40 years. Theatre of the Oppressed is organized around bringing biomedical mentors into a visceral understanding of their students’ experiences through physical and problem-focused role playing. Following 3 years of didactic and skills-based CRT mentor training, Year 4 Theatre of the Oppressed mentor training sessions included reflective and mandatory ice-breakers followed by real student stories of science push-out, with faculty members problematizing and problem-solving around student-centered, culturally humble means of carrying out student-related mentoring responsibilities through theatrical role playing.
Watch the full video of Boal's Discussion "Theatre of the Oppressed"
Year 4 Mentor Trainers
Suggested Reading for Skeptical Mentors
- Gravlee, C. (2009). How race becomes biology: embodiment of social inequality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 139:47-57
- Harrison, G. (2010). Race and Reality: what everyone should know about our biological diversity. Prometheus Books
- Bernal, G., & Ortiz-Torres, B. (2009). Barriers to research and capacity building at Hispanic-Serving Institutions: The case of HIV/AIDS research at the University of Puerto Rico. American Journal of Public Health, 99(Suppl 1), 560-565.
- Amodio, D. M., Kubota, J. T., Harmon-Jones, E., & Devine, P. G. (2006). Alternative mechanisms for regulating racial responses according to internal vs external cues. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 1(1), 26-36.