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Building a Healthier, More Equitable World with Dr. Richard Carmona

Be Well Lead Well® is committed to advancing the consciousness and capabilities for more inclusive, well, and wiser leadership. In support of these efforts, Be Well Lead Well® Director and Wisdom Works CEO, Renee Moorefield curates monthly content and resources for The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease, an initiative of the Global Wellness Institute. The goal: to bring together global wellness enthusiasts, from scientists and educators to health experts and business leaders, to eradicate preventable disease worldwide.

Each month, Renee explores wellbeing leadership through the themes of The Wellness Moonshot Calendar. Below is an excerpt from February’s theme, ACCEPT.

February 2022 | ACCEPT

Rich’s family had very little. They were poor, even homeless at times, and their access to healthcare was lacking. Yet, there was an abundance of love and affection in his Hispanic household, and his mother was a beacon of hope. She taught herself to speak five languages and, at the time of her death, was teaching herself Japanese.

She told Rich the most important thing she owned was a library card because it connected her knowledge and cultures all over the world. She taught him to channel the injustices, prejudices, and other hardships in his life into a passion to contribute to a healthier, more equitable, and peaceful world. And to all our benefit, she nurtured our colleague and friend, Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the USA and steward of The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease.

What can we learn from Dr. Carmona and his mother about bringing acceptance into our wellness leadership?

  • We can accept that we need to grow. There is always new information to incorporate into our perspectives, such as new technologies for transforming our mental health or new insights for solving our global health inequities. Our capacity to learn helps us be adaptable as wellness leaders, rather than locked into narrow biases.
  • We can accept the shared humanity of all people. At the end of the day, people around the world generally want the same things—a healthy family, good friends, safety and security, and meaning in life. Wellbeing is a human right—and a human drive. Embracing this idea as our foundation will lead us to create more inclusive and impactful wellness approaches.
  • We can accept we are worthy of respect. Dr. Carmona’s mother had a talent for accepting her realities yet not be defined by them, holding herself with dignity no matter her circumstances. When we embody this stance from the inside out, we are more apt to lead wellness with generativity, openness, and wisdom.