Facing ourselves and growing within

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Embracing our journey through cultural humility

Wheel of Social Identity
Wheel of power privledge

Take a moment to think about who you are. You can use this wheel below to identify each aspect of yourself.

Next, assess where you fall on the wheel of power and privilege. 

Explore what feelings came up for you. Note anything that you are surprised by, or something you didn’t realize about yourself. This is an activity in cultural humility. 

So, what is cultural humility, and where did it begin?

The concept of cultural humility was developed more than 20 years ago by Melanie Tervalon, M.D., M.P.H., and Jann Murray-García, M.D., M.P.H., to address institutional inequities and health disparities in medicine. It has since spread beyond medicine and health care.

The three principles of cultural humility:

  • Continuous and lifelong learning of self, and how your own identity impacts others.
  • Awareness of your assumptions and prejudices, and being active in addressing power imbalances and dynamics (reflect on the wheel of power/privilege above).
  • Institutional accountability.

(Source: AAFP- Cultural Humility is Critical to Health Equity)

Strategies to increase cultural humility: 

  • Avoid stereotypes and generalizations.
  • Separate feelings from facts.
  • Learn about your own unconscious biases and ways to combat them. 
  • Listen to the stories of others. Remember, even people from the same culture will have different lived experiences. 
  • Develop safe and brave spaces.
  • Participate in genuine discussions with openness and respect.
  • Be an active ally.
  • Educate yourself.
  • Surround yourself with individuals of different groups.
  • Remember it will take time. This is a process.

We must recognize historical traumas and systemic racism. This can impact trust and health inequities within patient care, as well as other aspects of one’s life. We must dive deeper into who we are, and our own power and privilege. The deeper self awareness one has, the deeper we can meet others. Remember cultural humility is a lifelong process. Approach one another with empathy, compassion, and curiosity. Step outside your comfort zone. Lead with openness. Accept and celebrate others for exactly who they are; do the same for yourself.

Diversity at The Wright Center

Each month, we will highlight diversity related to our patients, staff, faculty, and residents. Through a recent survey, staff observe an array of religious traditions all year long. In addition to celebrating holidays all year long – including Eid, Christmas, Easter, Navaratri, Litha, and more – employees say they get in touch with their spiritual side in many different ways, including through meditation and enjoying nature.


Allison LaRussa

Allison LaRussa, B.A., CPS, RYT (She/Her)
AVP, Health Humanities, Trauma-Informed Sanctuary Frameworks, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education