With a widespread history of discrimination in the US healthcare system, it is important to have LGTBQIA+ allies within the healthcare system.
One such ally worth highlighting is Dr. Johnwick Nathan. Dr. Nathan is not just a doctor, but also an entrepreneur, author, musician, fashion designer and most notably, the CEO of Harbor Health Integrated Care Inc (HHIC).
Dr. Nathan was born in Haiti and later emigrated to the US, and dedicated himself to his studies. Originally studying music at university, he later discovered through an “exploration of Bible College,” that his true passion was helping people.
Speaking with OUTvoices, Dr. Nathan also described his time as a behavioral health technician in Tempe. He credits this time with helping him realize people who need help had limited resources, believing not enough existed to make a difference. But in addition to gaining this belief, Dr. Nathan also gained the determination to prove someone can make a difference in the lives of people. When asked what played the biggest role in entering the medical field, Dr. Nathan said, “Seeing how my work can help shape people’s minds and help them find a path in life, I realized I want to do more. I wanted to share my journey in a practical way, motivating people to see that a tough past does not determine who you are and what you can become.”
When asked about his role in HHIC, Dr. Nathan stated as CEO he leads the company using his principles of “soulful success.” The principle emphasized most by Nathan was “doing everything from a point of love.”
Dr. Nathan further elaborated on the work his organization does. “Harbor Health is an organization dedicated to supporting mental health and offering assistance to those in need; it currently provides psychiatric, clinical, and medical aid to at-risk individuals.”
Dr. Nathan notes that the community he creates is inclusive, coming from “a place of love for humankind.”
When asked about how the facility was affected amidst the pandemic, Dr. Nathan mentioned that the Harbor Health Homes are a closed environment, due to the patients staying within the establishment during their treatment, the facility was much less affected by COVID-19. Dr. Nathan also added his willingness to create a separate home for LGBTQIA+ patients if needed.
“In the future, if such a need presents itself I would be more than willing to create a separate home entirely dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community to make patients feel safe and cared for in a unique and personal way. I believe that being part of a community is an important part of the journey to stable mental health and recovery, but I also think that a person needs to feel safe first to be able to voluntarily want to enter a more diverse environment.”
When asked about how his philosophy was formed, Dr. Nathan said, “through the experiences I had and the principles that shaped me. I was always able to look a little deeper into things and see the bigger picture. If I had to shape the way people around me think, I was always willing to go that extra mile but never willing to take a step back or stay on the sidelines.
Further tying back into his “soulful success philosophy” Dr. Nathan mentioned implementing love into everything he does “be it business, entrepreneurship, philanthropy or anything else.”
Dr. Nathan also expressed a belief that his philosophy would be helpful to the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I do believe that this worldview may empower the community because it shows a different angle of looking at things, coming from a place of acceptance, care and love. It shows that no matter what color, shape, gender or any possible label people can tag you with, or you yourself associate yourself with, you can become anything you want if you implement the right principles and take the time to find your individual path in life.”
Further elaborating on his allyship Nathan mentioned a friend of his who came out recently, “the first thing I did was make sure that nothing between us would ever change and that I don’t look at him as a label or a category but a human being who is free to make their choices and be whoever they identify as being.”
While not directly elaborating on his philosophy, Dr. Nathan further tied his support to his love-based philosophy. “I am very vocal about being inclusive and choosing love as a guideline to building relationships with people. I want this idea to be implemented worldwide, doing the work I do in Ghana right now working on changing the stigma associated with mental health there and providing practical help to build facilities, communities and markets. I am sure my work will expand into breaking the LGBTQIA+ stigma across the ocean too.”