In this very special episode, Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, shares her perspective as an African American woman and professional leader on the events unfolding in communities throughout the United States and world-wide. She discusses our collective trauma, having witnessed the cold blooded murder of a man and United States citizen, Mr. George Floyd, during the course of an eight minute, forty-six second video recorded by an onlooking citizen.
As Dr. Allen-Davis tells us, “We’re all in this together,” and, “We have to start talking about this in order to stop talking about it.” Reflecting on generations of institutional racism in the United States, following a terrible history of slavery, genocide, and profound physical, psychological and spiritual brutality, Dr. Allen-Davis discusses the importance for each of us to feel the pain – to allow ourselves to feel, deeply, the grief of such tremendous sadness and injustice. This isn’t a matter of simply tweaking policy or replacing incompetent individuals, we must feel in order to heal.
Citing the ancient African tradition of Imbizo (“talking things out”), practiced by the Zulu nation and others today, Dr. Allen-Davis discusses the need for diverse talking and healing circles in communities everywhere – diverse not only in terms of ethnicity or sexual orientation, but also, and very importantly, diversity in terms of socio-economic status. In these “safe places,” Dr. Allen-Davis advises, we have the opportunity to cultivate the adaptive change necessary.
In this emotional and moving discussion, Dr. Allen-Davis also speaks directly to white America, providing very important input and invitation to “Channel empathy,” as she says, “Don’t be sorry for me, be sorry with me.”
Although she is rightfully skeptical that our society will rapidly heal this generations-deep psycho-pathology, having witnessed the riots and fires in the fourth grade following the cold blooded murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Allen-Davis is hopeful – especially given the diminished racism, bigotry, and hatred that she observes among younger people. She leaves us with a powerful exhortation: “Believe in your own goodness!” and implores us to take the time, “Going slow to go fast,” to have the conversations, feel the emotions, listen, and adapt together.
Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis, MD is the President and CEO of Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Allen-Davis was the vice-president of Government, External Relations and Research for Kaiser Permanente Colorado from 2009-2018. In that role she led the organization’s government relations and regulatory affairs, community relations and community benefit investment, clinical research activities, stakeholder engagement, communications, and advertising and marketing functions. Dr. Allen-Davis is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and was in active practice for 25 years. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Allen-Davis completed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She is an active participant in the community and currently serves on the boards of Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, National Jewish Health, and the Geisel Board of Advisors at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She has been recognized as a 5280 Magazine “Top Doc” in the Denver Metropolitan Area in addition to other leadership awards, including Outstanding Woman in Health Care by the Denver Business Journal.