Bringing “Role and Soul” in Health, Health Services, and Health Research: The Positive Deviance Way

3:00PM to 4:30PM November 19, 2014
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Centre for Dialogue, LIC
RRU Staff

When “role and soul” come together in a healthcare context, healing occurs.    

Imagine a pediatric anesthesiologist who chooses to carry her little patients in her arms to the operation theater. The act of carrying a child may seem small but delivers big and better outcomes. The process calms the baby, reassures the parents, and creates a compassionate ambience in the surgical theater. A calm baby means that it is easier to insert an IV line and administer anesthesia. Better clinical, relational, and healing outcomes accrue. 

The act of carrying a baby, in contrast to the norm of wheeling them in, represents a “positive deviant” act. Deviant because such acts are not the norm; and positive as they deliver better outcomes at many levels.  

In this presentation with Dr. Arvind Singhal, we explore the PD way to health and healing, where role and soul come together. PDis a novel approach to individual, organizational, and social change based on the observation that in every community there exist certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing worse challenges. By focusing on identifying “what is working” and then amplifying and accentuating the positive, the PD approach heals the patients, families, caregivers, and institutions. Driven by data, the PD approach questions the normative ways of conducting expert-driven needs assessment and gap-analysis, and follows a systematic process of uncovering cost-effective and culturally appropriate solutions from within the local community.      

This free event is a collaboration between Island Health and Royal Roads. Please RSVP to If you cannot attend in person, please join the livestream at

Singhal is the Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Professor and Director of Social Justice Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso, and appointed (since 2009-2010) as the William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow, Clinton School of Public Service, the University of Arkansas. Singhal is co-author or editor of 13 books – Inspiring Change and Saving Lives: The Positive Deviance Way (2014); Health Communication in the 21st Century (2014); Inviting Everyone: Healing Healthcare through Positive Deviance (2010); Protecting Children from Exploitation and Trafficking: Using the Positive Deviance Approach (2009); Communication of Innovations  (2006); Organizing for Social Change (2006); Entertainment-Education Worldwide: History, Research, and Practice (2004); Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action (2003); and others. Three of Singhal’s books won awards for distinguished applied scholarship. He teaches a course on positive deviance at UTEP, offers workshops on the topic, and serves as a coach for educators, health practitioners, and business leaders in several countries of Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He can be contacted at