Episode 34: Supporting Grief in the Lab: Creating a Culture of Compassion and Care- Dana Powell Baker
In today’s episode, we have a thought-provoking roundtable discussion on a topic that is often overlooked in the workplace – grief. We are joined by our guest, Dana Powell Baker, who is the manager for academic partnerships with the Association of Public Health Laboratories. Dana brings a wealth of expertise in higher education, relationship building, laboratory operations, and healthcare simulation.
Together, we delve into the importance of having tools and resources to manage grief in the workplace, sharing personal experiences, and exploring how to support colleagues in their own grieving processes. We discuss the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding grief, particularly for minority women. We also highlight the need for proactive support and discuss ways in which managers and colleagues can create a compassionate and caring environment.
Key takeaways from this episode:
- Educate and Familiarize: Become familiar with bereavement policies and resources within your work setting. Regular communication with HR will help you better understand the available support. Advocate for interactive presentations and modules on grief leadership to bridge the training gap.
- Create Spaces for Dialogue: Foster open and compassionate communication by creating safe spaces for professionals to share their experiences with grief. Incorporate bereavement education and training into leadership conferences and online learning packages.
- Normalize the Conversation: Address grief in the workplace and break down stigmas and biases. Provide support and resources, even for colleagues who may choose not to disclose their situation. Have resources readily available, such as bereavement policies, leave procedures, and community resources for financial assistance.
Remember, supporting grief and loss is an essential part of building a compassionate and inclusive workplace culture. Let’s come together to create a space where everyone feels seen, heard, and supported. It’s time to eLABorate on this important topic. Let’s get started!
“We all experienced grief in some form or fashion. And so why isn’t it a topic that is commonly discussed, openly discussed, especially in the workplace?… It’s almost as if it’s taboo… we need to do more of that because simply it’s the right thing to do. We are caring people that are caring for other people. So why are we not being more intentional and caring for each other, especially in times of difficulty and grief?”
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Dana Powell Baker is the Manager for Academic Partnerships with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). An ASCP-certified Medical Laboratory Scientist, her areas of expertise include higher education, learning and development, relationship building, laboratory operations, interprofessional education and healthcare simulation. In addition to her professional responsibilities, she is a champion for STEM as well as an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Furthermore, she serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Mrs. Baker has been recognized with various awards for her contributions and service to the laboratory profession most recently being named as a co-recipient of the 2022 ASCP President’s Award. She serves in leadership roles across professional organizations including the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). She is actively engaged mentorship of emerging laboratory professionals.
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