Jann Murray-García: The voice of community
"My goal is to contribute to the elimination of health disparities and to educate health professionals to serve an increasingly
With nearly two decades of experience researching, writing and teaching about critical race theory and its impact on individuals and communities, Jann Murray-García brings her expertise to the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis as a consulting faculty member. Murray-García co-teaches the Community Connections class for Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership master’s-degree students. She also coaches students in culturally inclusive care as part of their immersion week prior to the first day of classes.
It’s unusual for a pediatrician to teach at a nursing school, says Murray-García, but she is inspired by the interprofessional and interdisciplinary vision for the school, its faculty and students.
"My goal is to contribute to the elimination of health disparities and to educate health professionals to serve an increasingly diverse society," Murray-García says.
She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, her medical degree from UCSF and completed pediatric residency training at Oakland Children’s Hospital, followed by a master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Murray-García also completed a Pew Health Policy Fellowship at UCSF and a Primary Care Outcomes Research Fellowship at UC Davis. Her publications on race, health care and child development have appeared in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, Medical Care, Academic Medicine and Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
At Oakland Children’s Hospital, Murray-García established a multicultural training program with fellow pediatrician Melanie Tervalon. Together, they coined and developed the concept of Cultural Humility as a basis for culturally inclusive care. Cultural Humility is based on lifelong learning, minimizing power imbalances in clinical settings and honoring the community’s expertise.
Based on her work with children and coaching parents, Murray-García hypothesizes that health disparities are linked to schooling experiences. She is committed to bringing the voice of community into scholarship and research.
When Murray-García and her family moved to Davis, she became involved in the school community along with her young children.
"I’m a community organizer at heart," Murray-García says. "I began to see that educational inequality as a public health challenge and I wanted to make a change."
Her different areas of work started to coalesce in Davis public schools through Youth in Focus, an organization that trains young people to conduct research. Murray-García volunteered in Davis schools during a time of high racial tension in the community and produced a youth-directed documentary film, "From the Community to the Classroom," illustrating the eight-year social change process that followed.
Now Murray-García helps graduate students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing find their voice as they conduct nursing research in partnership with community organizations such as the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and the Placer County Department of Health and Human Services. She coaches the students as they survey needs of the Food Bank’s clients through focus group meetings and a variety of other community-based research projects, as well as ensuring they develop and implement culturally inclusive methods in their research.
"I find it humbling and exciting to be a physician at the School of Nursing, and to be part of a movement to educate health professionals differently," Murray-García says. "I am a student of the nursing profession, of its history, and of its potential to transform health and health care in an unprecedented era of reform."