Shifting the Paradigm: Restorative Justice as a Framework for Workforce Well-being


Workplace stressors are at alarming levels, particularly as we face the convergence of a global pandemic, racially motivated acts of violence, divisive politics, and workforce shortages. To combat burnout and compassion fatigue, research suggests specific training in practices of cooperative work, effective communication, conflict resolution, and collective problem solving can build connection, understanding, and appreciation within communities. Restorative Justice (RJ) is an ethical framework that focuses on building community by living our shared values of respect, honesty, responsibility, empathy, and inclusivity. RJ has its roots in indigenous traditions, which uphold the belief that people are interconnected and that focus on the role of community. Restorative practices can create the environment necessary for building and sustaining relationships, maintaining shared accountability, repairing damage caused by harmful behaviors, and ultimately improving team culture. The purpose of this program is to develop, implement, and study the impact of a Duke Restorative Justice training model. The program is in partnership with the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  

Restorative Justice Symposium

On June 17, 2024, program participants presented outcomes to date. Teams shared ways they have applied restorative practices in their units, lessons learned, and plans for the future.

Watch the recordings:

Full Event (1 hour, 56 minutes)

Introduction to Restorative Justice Program, Evaluation and Results (32 minutes)

Team Presentations (9-14 minutes each)

Learn more about the faculty-staff teams selected to participate in the 2023-2024 pilot program.

2023-2024 Pilot Program details

Pilot participants will take part in an intensive Restorative Justice (RJ) training program in fall 2023. Participants will develop and implement restorative interventions within their individual units, with the support of others in the pilot program as well as experienced RJ practitioners. Through this year-long pilot, participants will become part of a longitudinal learning community of individuals interested in exploring the use of RJ in the School of Medicine. The pilot program will run fall 2023-summer 2024. There will be no charge to participants or departments that participate in the pilot.

Participation will require significant time, including classroom training sessions, asynchronous reading and reflection, and the expectation to implement restorative practices in respective work units. Through this cohort-based experiential learning program, participants will apply what they learn in the fall training sessions to address particular needs and interests in their units. Opportunities to discuss the successes and challenges of those efforts with the cohort will enhance the learning opportunities and contribute to a collection of “best practices” for future dissemination. Applicants must attend all training dates in order to be considered for participation in the pilot.

It is expected that participants will apply as teams. Each team should include 2-4 individuals from the same organizational unit within the School of Medicine (department, center, division, program, or similar)

Because this project is a pilot, and intended to help guide a strategy for broader dissemination, program evaluators expect participants to provide feedback about their experience.  The evaluation may include activities such as surveys, interviews, or focus groups.

  • Opportunity to learn new ways of walking in the world based on shared values, accountability, and repairing harm
  • Support for the development and implementation of restorative practices within your unit 
  • Connection to a community of peers committed to positive culture change through implementation of restorative practices
  • Chance to contribute to the scholarly understanding of the impact of RJ in academic medicine
  • Tuition-free opportunity to take part in inaugural pilot program
  • Stipend deposited in the individual’s discretionary account (for faculty) or added to their regular pay (for staff) for participation and completion of activities
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit 

Each team should include 2-4 individuals from the same organizational unit within the School of Medicine (department, center, division, program, or similar). Teams can be multidisciplinary. The primary applicant should be a full-time faculty or staff member within the School of Medicine.   

Applications will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria:  

  • Team members have a demonstrated commitment to improving institutional culture and climate within the unit, including diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
  • Team collectively has enough capacity, reach and local support to implement RJ practices within the unit.
  • Potential ideas for the application of RJ within the organizational unit.
  • Faculty and staff representation where possible
  • Senior leadership support, including a statement confirming protected time for participants to attend all training sessions and participate in evaluation activities. The letter should confirm support for participants’ implementation efforts in the spring and address likely receptivity of the local unit to restorative interventions/mindset.  The letter must be signed by the department chair or division chief for faculty applicants, and the manager(s) for staff applicants.

Applications open: June 29, 2023

Applications close: August 7, 2023

Participants notified of their selection: September 5, 2023

Fall training dates*:

*Applicants should block their calendar for these dates while waiting to hear if they have been accepted. All sessions will be held in person on or near Duke campus.

    • Thursday, September 28, 8:30 am-5:00 pm
    • Friday, September, 29, 8:30 am-5:00 pm
    • Monday, October 9, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
    • Wednesday, October 25, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
    • Wednesday, November 8, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
    • Wednesday, November 29, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
    • Wednesday, December 6, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
    • Wednesday, December 13, 8:30 am-12:30 pm
  • Spring meeting dates: Additional training sessions will be scheduled and will focus on discussion, problem-solving, and support for implementation efforts within the participants’ units.  

Applications must be submitted online no later than August 7, 2023.

Each team should designate one individual to submit the application on behalf of their group.

Following receipt of the application, remaining team members will receive a brief survey via e-mail asking them to confirm their agreement with the application details and attest to their ability to attend all training dates. The chair or manager for each applicant will also be contacted to confirm their support for protected time for the individuals to participate.

Please have the following information ready for upload prior to beginning your application:

  • Name, title, and e-mail address for all team members and their respective managers (if staff) or department/division heads (if faculty)
  • Description of organizational unit represented (program, division, department, etc.) (<100 words)
  • Brief (<500 word) response describing why your group wants to participate in this pilot program. In the essay, address the following:
    • What needs you hope to address through participation
    • Any prior knowledge or experience with RJ (if applicable)
    • Potential ideas for the application of RJ in your local unit
    • How the makeup of your team will influence your ability to accomplish your goals
  • Brief (<300 word) description of any existing departmental/divisional initiatives that make your group well-positioned to implement what you learn in the RJ pilot program
  • (Optional) Other info you would like the selection committee to know when evaluating your application (<200 word)
  • Letter of support signed by the department/division head and the manager for all participating staff members that addresses the selection criteria outlined above. The letter should affirm protected time for participants to attend all training sessions and for implementation of restorative practices.


Questions? Contact Jessica Schonberg, M.Ed. at