He was a Lost Boy of Sudan. Now he's helping others access healthcare and live their best lives.

Dignity Health

Jany Deng never had a childhood.


Dignity Health

He was only 10 when civil war broke out in his homeland of South Sudan. Orphaned and faced with no other choice for survival, Deng had to flee the country alone, walking more than 2,000 miles towards Ethiopia. He often had nothing to eat or drink. "We have to walk for a month, a day, a year, just wondering wherever we can get safety," Deng recalls.

Months later, he reached a refugee settlement where he was able to live for several years. But in 1991, war broke out again. This time, Deng had to walk 2,500 miles towards Kenya.

Deng and the other boys he walked with became known as "The Lost Boys of Sudan" by the aid workers who helped them resettle in America.


Dignity Health

Deng came to this country not knowing the language or the customs. It was an extreme culture shock. But thanks to his foster mother, a "remarkable and nurturing woman," Deng learned he could expect some good from this new world, and others would be there to help him.

Sure enough, Deng realized that whenever he needed help, there was always someone to show him the way. So he made himself a promise — when he was in a position to do so, he'd help others, too.


Today, Deng is a community leader and a social worker with Dignity Health's CATCH program, which helps underserved, disenfranchised, and chronically ill patients access resources and take control of their physical and medical needs. Through the program, patients improve their self-sufficiency and gain social support to reduce the time they spend in emergency rooms and in-patient units, giving them an overall better quality of life.


Dignity Health

This is where Deng puts his unique worldview to work. In his job as a CATCH social worker, his past experiences allow him to see clients in a way that other professionals may not be able to. He brings a holistic approach to his work and sees every patient as unique — with their own goals, challenges, and strengths, just like he had.

"We might not know to ask certain questions," says Marisue Garganta, Director of Community Health Integration and Community Benefit at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital. "Jany intuitively will know what questions to [ask]."

Deng's a perfect fit at Dignity Health CATCH Program, which seeks to share its mission of spreading human kindness throughout its facilities and beyond.

Humans, Deng says, have a lot of needs. And those extend far beyond the medical. That's why Dignity Health focuses on all aspects of health — from the physical to the mental to the social. Those who work there aim to provide compassionate care that bridges the gap between medical professionals and the larger community. For Deng, every interaction is a chance to inspire a patient to accept his help and pay it forward.

"I want to pass it on, and hopefully, those people that I work with and help, they can pass it on to somebody else," he says.

To learn more about Jany Deng, check out the video below.



Hello Humankindness
True
Dignity Health
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular