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Enacting Social Justice Practice

Nancy Murphy, NP, PhD is the author of our current featured article titled “Advancing the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Health Team Model: Applying Democratic Professionalism, Implementation Science, and Therapeutic Alliance to Enact Social Justice Practice.” In the article she examines three foundational pillars of social justice practice: democratic professionalism, implementation science, and therapeutic alliance to advance this practice. Dr. Murphy has provided this description of her work:

I can’t recall when I have not been thinking about interdisciplinary collaborative team work, its value, its challenges, and the ongoing effort to keep the patient in the center of care!  As my early career coincided with the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I was fortunate to be part of dynamic and

Dr. Nancy Murphy

Dr. Nancy Murphy

creative interdisciplinary work, both in the hospital and the community setting.   The early HIV models of care were immediately collaborative, as it was clear that one discipline alone could never provide all of what was needed.  The “team” went beyond clinicians to include not only patients and families, but friends, communities, legal advocates, spiritual providers, and many other ‘partners in care.’ 

Decades later I am still at it, now hoping the application of democratic professionalism, implementation science and therapeutic alliance may advance and improve the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Health Team model. The ideas of task sharing, thoughtful and strategic implementation, and therapeutic alliance among and between colleagues, patients, families, communities, and systems are extremely timely, especially as the US ventures into reorganization of health care financing: Affordable Care Act, Accountable Care Organizations, Bundled Payments, etc. Burwell, the Secretary of HHS, has set forth a range of upcoming changes in reimbursement that are claimed to reward value over volume.  The question is open as to whether these strategies are able to fulfill the social justice goal of both improving individual health outcomes and health disparities while simultaneously addressing larger health inequities (social, political, economic) that drive the negative social determinants of health.  

I continue to rely on Audre Lorde’s advice and offer it here for others to consider, “Only within the interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters” (Sister Outsider, 1986, p. 111).

Visit the ANS web site now to download your copy of this thought-provoking article while it is featured!  We welcome your comments and ideas!

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