Hands of a person of color holding a woman's hands to symbolize equity and inclusion in integrated health at CIIS
Faculty News

Health Care Workers - Time to Update Your DEI Thinking, Approach and Vocabulary

Dr. Meg Jordan's new book arrives with a next-generational roadmap for addressing diversity equity, and inclusivity

August 10, 2021

As the pandemic shined a harsh light exposing racial/ethnic health disparities and inequities, leaders in business and health care discovered that their diversity training and cultural competency strategies were due for an overhaul. In this era of moral reckoning about social injustice and widespread discrimination, Dr. Meg Jordan's new book arrives with a next-generational roadmap for addressing diversity equity, and inclusivity (DEI).

How to Be a Health Coach: An Integrative Wellness Approach(second edition) defines the steps toward cultural sensitivity that are beyond mere rhetoric. Jordan advises that doctors, educators, therapists, and coaches confront their own inner bias and tendency to stereotype or harshly judge people, either consciously or unconsciously. These tendencies arise from our own personal histories, upbringing, experiences, and education and are reinforced within systems of oppression and discrimination, slowly becoming the invisible status quo—invisible to all but those who suffer the disadvantages.

"You've got to be willing to lean into discomfort as you unpack this next generation of ideas to right these longstanding wrongs," advises Dr. Jordan, a Professor and department chair of Integrative Health Studies at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. As a behavior change specialist, RN, and medical anthropologist, Jordan served as a case investigator, and vaccinator and is now gathering genomic swabs testing for variants. “With the high rates of burnout and exhaustion among health care personnel, it is vital for these professionals to take time out and reassess their cultural competencies and structural inequities that dominate medical centers and clinics in many parts of the nation."

"I've primarily worked with new immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras, the low-income essential workers, who are at most risk for getting the coronavirus variants due to close living conditions, reliance on public transit, and not having the luxury of working at home in tech jobs. I've also worked with many people who have a mistrust of medical systems, based on realities of poor follow-through, less aggressive treatment of major diseases, and inadequate or exploitative research.

Jordan adds, 

"In working with people of diverse backgrounds, I find that many are quick to sense social rejection and will abandon health goals long before a white person in a similar setting. Coaching someone along a journey of greater self-confidence is one step; being an ally in opening doors to a more inclusive society is another. It all starts with compassionate listening and practicing these inclusive behaviors.”

The original edition of How to Be a Health Coach is used in over 120 schools and training programs and has been a leading text in the field. This long-awaited 2021 second edition provides step-by-step guidance for becoming a professional health coach and helps prepare readers for national board certification with NBHWC. In addition, it offers a dozen methods for learning inclusive behavior and has an up-to-date DEI vocabulary with descriptions that goes beyond most diversity training. Strategies are included for moving from cultural competency to structural competency. It also includes templates for coaching sessions, healthy lifestyle information, and the latest methods and findings for advancing coaching skills and knowledge. 


Related peer-reviewed journal article published Aug 9, 2021:

Jordan, M. (2021). The Role of a Health Coach in a Global Pandemic. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. SAGE Journals: Published Aug 9, 2021. doi/10.1177/21649561211039456

Jordan, M. (2021). Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy Among Marginalized Populations. International Journal of Nursing and Health Care Science, 01(01).

Related News