Dr. Jane Gagliardi: Championing Civility in Medicine

In the intricate tapestry of health care, where compassion intertwines with expertise and empathy balances the weight of responsibility, fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity becomes paramount. Dr. Jane Gagliardi, Civility Champion debrief facilitator for the Department of Medicine, stands at the forefront of this endeavor as a Civility Champion. Her journey is not just about advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion; it's about embodying these principles in every interaction, every decision, and every moment of connection within the health care ecosystem. 

Dr. Gagliardi's journey as a Civility Champion traces back to a pivotal moment – a Grand Rounds session led by Dr. Dinushika Mohottige in 2018, shedding light on the scourge of incivility in medicine. Inspired and motivated, Dr. Gagliardi embraced the opportunity to be part of the solution. With Ada Gregory's, associate director for Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics’s (KIE), guidance, she delved into the realms of nonviolent communication and restorative justice, navigating uncharted territories with a steadfast commitment to understanding and healing. 

As she immersed herself in the role, Dr. Gagliardi found herself not only championing civility but also delving into the essence of humanity within health care. Quarterly debriefs, first led by Dr. John Duronville and now by Dr. Gagliardi, became sanctuaries for reflection and growth, nurturing a community of over 100 Civility Champions who embody compassion and empathy. Through initiatives like the Stepping in 4 Respect and Inclusion workshops, Dr. Gagliardi is grateful for the opportunity to cultivate safe spaces for dialogue, enabling colleagues to step beyond their comfort zones and confront challenging topics together. 

Yet, her journey transcends just accolades; Dr. Gagliardi's passion for equity and justice reverberates through every facet of her work. From facilitating conversations on anti-racism to participating in and mentoring projects targeting health equity, to collaborating on the Macy Foundations' Catalyst Award, she embodies the ethos of transformative change. Through her efforts, an additional 39 Civility Champions have emerged across various departments, amplifying the ripple effect of empathy and understanding.

Dr. Jane Gagliardi and Dr. John Duronville
Dr. Jane Gagliardi and Dr. John Duronville

In Dr. Gagliardi's narrative, the significance of Civility Champions becomes palpable. They are not just agents of change but guideposts of hope in an environment often marred by adversity. By proactively addressing instances of harm and fostering a culture of support, they pave the way for a more inclusive and compassionate health care landscape. 

Dr. Gagliardi encourages any DOM member who has experienced or witnessed harm in the health care environment to seek out a Civility Champion to talk to. The Civility Champions page on DOM’s website houses the list of current Civility Champions. Additionally, for those interested in joining the cause, Civility Champions hosts 'new Champion training' annually in the spring, with calls for self-nomination in the fall, and she urges the DOM community to be on the lookout for the next call for new Civility Champions.  

She further challenges each member of the DOM community: "I challenge each and every one of us to make an authentic connection with someone at least once every single day with the sole goal of supporting that person and making their day better,” she said. “Try to really 'see' others in your work environment, and nurture the small moments of authentic human connection. If you see an episode of microaggression or bias, take the pressure off the apparent target and lean into the idea that we are all human beings doing our best in challenging circumstances." 

As we celebrate Women's History Month and honor the theme of "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion," Dr. Jane Gagliardi's story is a testament to the transformative power of empathy and compassion. In her tireless pursuit of civility and justice, she embodies the essence of resilience, empathy, and hope – qualities that define her not only as a champion but also as a beacon of change in the ever-evolving landscape of health care.