Intercultural Medicine as Healing Leadership

Good news! My review of the research collection “At the Interface of Culture and Medicine” has been published in Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources.


Without explicitly talking about leadership, the book nonetheless makes the issues of intercultural leadership in medicine very clear from a variety of perspectives. Who is authorized to define an illness? What influence does community leadership have on healing and end of life issues? How do doctors empower (or disempower) their patients by the ways they define disease? What roles do deep listening and family engagement have as doctorʻs lead a client towards health? And what are some of the ways doctors can train to be better leaders by using the community-based strategies of ethnographyʻs participant/observer research model?
These are fascinating questions that apply both to health and to leadership in the mixing pot we face today in every country. This volume celebrates and challenges Canadaʻs system to step up to become more inclusive and intercultural.
From the review:
“This edited volume asks, and begins to answer, important questions:
  • How do cultural biases limit medical practitioners?
  • How do cultural differences affect different patient experiences of illness?
  • How can stable, respectful connections be made across cultural difference so that patients and medical practioners can work together to promote maximum healing?
As a trained ethnographer/scholar and a specialist in Hawaiian traditions, I find it exciting and hopeful that this community of researchers and healers have come together to struggle with these questions. In most of the chapters, the solutions come from finding a new way for medical specialists to listen to the communities, families and individual stories of patients.
This radical shift in Western medical practice challenges a still-dominant assumption that healing answers come exclusively and clearly from a scientific measurement of the body in distress.”  Read more

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