The pressure on immigrants to assimilate can lead to cultural erasure. Diana Klatt joins me on Leading with Health to show us how oral storytelling can help by teaching us about our own histories.

Diana Klatt is an epidemiologist who works in digital health tech by day and as a science/health communicator by night. She is based in New York City but travels the world, digitally and physically, creating space for open communication, collaboration, cultural cohesion, and community building. You can learn more about her work at Global Caveat and find her on Instagram @klattalyst.

Kinding Sindaw is the dance company mentioned in the interview.

Highlights include:

6:42 – DK: “Everyone does storytelling, right? You tell your kids about different stories in your life or things that have happened to you. And that’s something where they’re learning about you … but in terms of storytelling and immigration, specifically, there is a huge disconnect between what is being passed between generations.”

8:15 – DK: ” A lot of Asians in America haven’t been here that long. So a lot of us have come and moved due to some kind of traumatic event or intense event, like wars, like the Vietnam war, Korean war. Asians were also brought to America to be another type of labor.”

11:30 – DK: “You can hear stories from other people. Maybe your family has assimilated and tried really hard to blend in, but maybe you meet someone and their family hasn’t. Their family is holding strong … like they’re doing a lot of things at home that you’re not doing. Maybe they’re still speaking their native language at home mixed with English, whereas you’re only speaking English at home. And by having those friends and that kind of community, you can learn through other people because it’s likely that a lot of stories are similar, especially with mass migration.”

13:04 – JM: “It’s almost like one generation feels that forgetting is the way to heal. And then the next generation is like, I can’t heal without knowing. In the end, it’s just easier to know where we’re from than it is to be afraid of looking at it.”

16:55 – DK: “While Kinding Sindaw is teaching the dance, they talk about the history and when the dance would be used. So there’s different types of dance. They’ll talk about like how it relates to the history of Mindanao and then how it relates to the history of the Philippines, how to connect to all of these different things. So each time you’re learning a dance and you’re progressing in a dance, you’re also learning the history.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to create a healthcare system that actually cares about the patients and the providers.