Ato Launiu (“Basket of Life”): What You Carry With you

February 16, 2021

Poet Elizabeth Paulson with her Grandmother. Covid is rampant in the Pacific Islander community and the writer wanted to use this opportunity to destigmatize mask wearing.

Ato Launiu (“Basket of Life”): What You Carry With you

Siva Siva Mai! We invite you to come dance with us. Though we cannot dance together within the constraints in our present moment, we will aim to connect through sharing our origin stories. Through poems and writing together we will develop a shared closeness and depth that decolonizes our community of practice and honors and acknowledges transgenerational trauma. Our aim is to heal our setting, our hearts, and our minds in order to end cycles of suffering and ill health. The readings at this workshop will highlight the cultural context of the works we read, along with the importance of the history and preservation of culture inherent in the accessing, sharing, and learning from the art we share.

Our time together will acknowledge transgenerational trauma, the need to decolonize our shared understanding of health and healthcare, and focus on building inclusion, belonging, and community in the spaces of healthcare. We will explore ways that storytelling and poetry provide necessary collective healing for BIPOC communities and repudiate the harm done by racism within healthcare institutions. Digging deep and learning about each other’s cultural belonging and representations of our origins will be our goal, to heal and find support to lift our burdens and make our baskets of life lighter together.

This workshop will be hosted by a white passing Samoan womxn. The materials and perspectives will be rooted in Samoan culture.

Learning the Language of Inclusion

By transgenerational trauma, we mean trauma and oppression our ancestors have suffered that has been passed to us through the generations, and we continue to carry within ourselves.

By decolonization, we repudiate the settler- colonial narrative as the dominant narrative and voice, and practice cultural humility and cultural safety to welcome multicultural wisdom and ways of knowing.

For this discussion, if you identify as a white individual, please ensure that you have considered the following:

1. I have thought about my place in anti-racist dialogues and the reasons for why I want to participate in taking action to reverse racism’s effect on BIPOC persons within healthcare spaces.

2. I’ve considered my role as a white person in the process of racism’s harm on BIPOC persons in healthcare settings.

3. I’ve participated in tough conversations naming racism and am willing to be uncomfortable talking about race and how I’ve benefited from white privilege.

4. I am willing to name whiteness as a system, not a personal attack.

5. I am willing to sit with the discomfort that whiteness affects the health of white persons.

6. As a white person, I am willing to name and acknowledge the experience of objectification. Am I ready for the challenge of being objectified and willing to gauge the impact it has on my health, my body, my person, and my well-being?

7. I am willing to be vulnerable and ask uncomfortable questions and help maintain a space that prioritizes cultural and emotional safety. In this workshop participants will be asked to read, write, and discuss.

If you require accommodation, please contact NWNMC at

Facilitator Bio

Facilitator: I am Elizabeth Anne Mailo Paulson, a south end Seattleite afakasi, mixed Samoan and white. I am pictured above, with my Grandmother. I am a graduate student in the Health Management and Policy dual program at Oregon Health and Science and Portland State University’s School of Public Health. My work has been published in Western Washington University’s “Jeopardy Magazine” and “Hunger Mountain” and was a winner of OHSU Library’s annual poetry contest in 2020. Poetry is important to my work because (creative ) writing brings empathy and humanity to healthcare. Poetry is an act of resistance. Poetry is an act of resilience. Poetry is a bridge that connects humanity and science.

Co-Facilitator: Adam Hoverman, DO MPH DTMH is a Family Medicine & Public Health Physician with the Multnomah County Health Department, Clinical Instructor with the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Department of Health Services, and a poet by training. Adam combines primary health care and public health practice and focuses his research, teaching, and writing on health systems strengthening via Community-Based Participatory Research and interprofessional team-based care. To this end, Adam acknowledges the need for cultural humility in co-producing health & social care, an appreciation for the ethnosphere strengthening health systems & improve health outcomes, and amplifies the Institute of Medicine’s call to action to learn from other countries in order to reverse the US’ longstanding health decline.

Event Details

February 16, 2021
6:00-8:00 pm


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