The Kwanza of Physician Health

Kwanza is an African American holiday that begins on December 26th and ends on December 31st. It is based on West African principles of the self in relationship to family and community. Although Kwanzaa is defined in relation to individual and social constructs it can also be viewed as a powerful tool for promoting physician and healthcare worker wellness and community health.

The six principles of Kwanza are directly applicable to physician and health care worker wellbeing and health:

n Umoja-Unity: Family and Community Support for your well being and the practice of medicine.

n Kujichagulia Self-Determination: Define Your Calling, Create and Live It.

n Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility: Advocate for our own and your patient's health together.

n Nia Purpose: Pool physician resources to sustain and develop institutions, practices, groups and health plans for promoting health and wellness of all people.

n Kuumba Creativity: To do as much as you can to innovatively promote wellness in yourself and your community.

n Imani Faith: To maintain and respect your spiritual roots and the interrelatedness of mind, spirit, and body.

Although Kwanza is based on West African Principles, this philosophy is universal. Incorporating these principles will promote wellbeing and ameliorate compassion fatigue in not only physicians, nurses and other health care workers. Remembering and acknowledging the Kwanza Dimensions of Health each and everyday will keep everyone on the path of health, as well as personal and professional joy and success. An individual is only as healthy and successful as his/her family, the community, the nation, and the world.

Lori-Linell Hall, M.D, P.C.C., F.A.C.O.G . is an executive and career coach to physicians and health care workers who are dissatisfied with their medical careers. She helps physicians achieve unlimited success by discovering and developing their unique abilities, unrecognized strengths, dormant talents and excavating their buried dreams and passions to create a new path within or outside health care. Contact Dr. Hall at

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