UCSF Black Healing Night a Success

By Robert Hood on January 28, 2022

Black Healing Night Zoom Meeting

On January 9, UC San Francisco Black residents and fellows attended the first annual Black Healing Night. The event was designed to build community and engage in healing activities.

It was one of nine projects supporting the health and wellbeing of the UCSF community chosen to receive Community Wellbeing Grants funded by Wellness and Community, a department within Campus Life Services. There were 310 applications received in the latest round of Community Wellbeing Grants.

“The event was incredible,” said Dr. Tiana Woolridge, event organizer. “We were hoping it would be in-person; however, with the rise in COVID cases, we had to make a last-minute switch to fully virtual.”

Black Healing Night was held over Zoom (shown above) on Sunday, Jan. 9. Woolridge said one of the highlights of the virtual event was a surprise visitor. “One of our recent grads had her baby girl with her, which really made us all feel that we were a big family – and seeing her bright eyes and adorable chubby cheeks brought everyone so much joy!”

Wooridge said that DEI work is often focused on the traumas that minoritized communities have experienced. “I am trying to shift that focus to accentuate the strengths of these communities and how we can all heal from these traumas.”

Highlights of the event included:

• A group discussion with Brandy McMurray, a chaplain at Mission Bay, who reminded the physicians that hospital chaplains are there for staff and to reach out if needed.

• A meditation led by Helen-Marie, an African Kemetic yoga instructor. The meditation was designed to help the physicians encode positive states of being into their day-to-day lives.

• A writing reflection led by Dr. Ashley McMullen. Participants were given 15 minutes to write on the following prompts: Who am I, really? (beyond titles, labels, etc. placed on us by others); What do I need now? What do I really want? What gives me life at my core?

Woolridge (photographed, left) proposed the Black Healing Night based on the successful Black Healing Day held in March 2021. Woolridge said Black residents and fellows shoulder a daily emotional burden, working 80+ hours a week on the frontlines while also navigating a pandemic predominantly affecting and killing members of the Black community.

“The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “Everyone left feeling more connected, grounded, centered and joyful, even with the last minute switch to a virtual meeting.”

Woolridge said she would like to see Black Healing Night become an annual, in-person, event.

“One of the best ways to build resilience – being in community with others – has not been possible due to regulations and cancellation of in-person activities during the pandemic,” she said. “We hope to be able to address that in the future.”