Lessons on Inclusivity from Mt. Everest Guide + ER doc Emily Johnston
In the first of Cate’s “local” podcast interviews, she sits down with Dr. Emily Johnston: ER doctor, international mountain guide, ski patroller, river guide. Cate and Emily met one week prior to this conversation on an airplane. They ended up in a conversation about inclusivity their respective fields and decided to continue the conversation here on the Yogahealer podcast.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
- Why inclusivity is so important in building dynamic groups.
- What role fear plays in the practice of exclusivity.
- How learning to receive feedback can lead to more inclusivity.
- Cate and Emily discuss adaptability, creative problem solving, and staying in flow.
- Cate and Emily discuss the importance of inclusivity in evolving dynamic groups and how to engage others in the inclusivity conversation and the roles that stereotypes, culture, and intergenerational communication play in that.
- Emily imparts her tips for how to form a dynamic group from a diverse group of people. Spoiler alert: laughter is key!
Links Mentioned in Episode:
- 5:18 – Cate and Emily discuss adaptability, creative problem solving, and staying in flow.
- 12:30 – Cate explains how we can bend time with breathwork and meditation and asks Emily if those are tools that guides and doctors are taught.
- 19:36 – Cate and Emily discuss the importance of inclusivity in evolving dynamic groups.
- 28:28 – Cate and Emily discuss how to engage others in the inclusivity conversation and the roles that stereotypes, culture, and intergenerational communication play in that.
- 34:40 – Cate asks Emily for her tips on how to form a cohesive dynamic group from a diverse group of people.
- 38:18 – Cate and Emily discuss the role that fear plays in the practice of exclusivity.
- 44:25 – Emily challenges us to be more consciously inclusive.
- “Laughter breaks down barriers: language barriers, cultural barriers, and ego barriers.” — Emily Johnston
- “Somehow people feel inadequate, and that’s where that exclusivity shield comes from.” — Emily Johnston
- “I have concerns that our species is inherently too exclusive and not inclusive enough. So my challenge is for people to just try to be more inclusive and see if we can change the status quo.” — Emily Johnston
Dr. Emily Johnston hadn’t always planned to be a doctor. She graduated from Middlebury with a BA in biology, but was “too busy playing rugby to focus on grades.” The year after she graduated she worked as a river guide on the Snake, then quickly started working for Outward Bound. In 1987, she started ski patrolling in Idaho, and by 1989 she was guiding on Mount Rainier. She guesses that she was the fourth or fifth woman hired on the mountain, and soon she was guiding big mountains in Mexico and Alaska, too.
In 2002, Emily Johnston was a mountain guide, ski patroller, and 39 years old. And she started her first year of medical school. After she graduated from medical school (at age 44), Johnston completed her residency at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. During her residency, she did medical work in Nepal and the Republic of the Congo. She also designed and conducted a research project on Denali, where she measured the effects of carbon monoxide in tents where people were cooking. She finished her residency at age 47. Now in her 50s, Emily guides and serves as medical director for International Mountain Guides. She teaches courses on international mountain medicine and advanced wilderness life support, and she consults with the Mount Rainier National Park to streamline their rescue protocol. Within the community, she is affectionately known as the “dirtbag doctor.”