As the United States experienced a long-overdue racial reckoning during the summer of 2020 – with Americans from all walks of life gathering en masse to protest systemic racism – Jan Froehlich, M.S., O.T.R./L., associate professor of occupational therapy, was working with co-author June Thornton-Marsh and their editors at Routledge to put the finishing touches on a new book aiming to help practitioners and aspiring practitioners develop the essential skills for racially and culturally effective communication in health and social care.
Froehlich and Thornton-Marsh’s “Transforming Racial and Cultural Lines in Health and Social Care: Listening, Loving, and Lifting Spirits When You Can” draws from their wealth of experience in the field and long-time colleagueship. The pair met many years ago when Thornton-Marsh – who is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Maine – worked for the UNE School of Social Work.
The book is divided into four sections that offer perspective on developing such essential skills such as listening attentively and compassionately to others’ life narratives, aligning with and responding to others’ emotions, and finding humor in ourselves as well as others. The book’s final section includes interviews from medical, health, and social care practitioners discussing examples of how they use racially and culturally effective communication to transform the care they provide and create better health outcomes for their patients.
Ultimately, the book makes the case that improved communication results in a better experience for patients and practitioners alike.
According to Dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions (WCHP) and interim provost, Karen Pardue, Ph.D., M.S., RN, CNE, ANEF, a number of programs in the WCHP are currently previewing the book for integration into curricula and adoption as a contemporary learning resource.