A pediatrician by training, her seminal article on cultural humility, together with her hands-on leadership with public, private, and nonprofit organizations has helped to change the way professionals, service providers, institutions – and entire fields – approach their work in the community and within institutions and organizations.
Cultural humility, as defined in the original 1998 article*, co-authored by Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray Garcia, and published in the Journal for the Poor and Underserved, is an approach that describes a pathway to equity and inclusion by:
• Redressing the power imbalances in the service dynamic
• Establishing a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique
• Developing mutually beneficial partnerships with communities on behalf of individuals and defined populations
In her current role as an independent consultant, Melanie Tervalon tailors services and products anchored in the principles and practice of cultural humility for clients in both the public and private sector, spanning the disciplines of health care delivery, public health, education, public service and advocacy.