Staying Curious and Challenging Her Perspectives
Donna Sadural, LCSW, M.P.H., arrived in the United States with her family when she was 11 years old. “Immigrating was a privilege,” she says, “a privilege that also came with challenges as I embarked on a journey to continue my schooling in a foreign land.”
That journey led Sadural to earn master’s degrees in social work and public health. She joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, more than six years ago, starting as a per diem clinical social worker and becoming a full-time member of the program during her first year. She is one of three Johns Hopkins Medicine employees honored with a Achievers Award in honor of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. She recently shared some thoughts on her work, her background and API Heritage Month.
What do you most enjoy about the role of clinical social worker?
I enjoy advocating for my patients and working to connect patients and their families with the appropriate resources at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and in the community. We have a great team. Social workers are part of the care team. We work together with other clinical staff to empower patients and families to have an active role in managing their health. I also supervise master’s level social workers who are completing training at Johns Hopkins All Children’s while they prepare for licensure. I enjoy helping them gain clinical experience and see that social workers are an important part of pediatric care.
Tell us about your heritage and experience.
As a teen, there were ongoing challenges in trying to balance honoring my Filipino roots while assimilating to American culture. It wasn’t until college that I had more exposure to a variety of ethnicities and cultures, and I began to have a better appreciation and understanding of my own heritage. Having said that, API Month is a time for me to reflect on the sacrifices that my family made in order to provide my siblings and I with better opportunities.
How does your heritage influence your work with patients and families?
Social work requires an open mind to better understand the individuals, families and communities we serve. Being Filipino-American influences my work in that I remain cognizant of how cultures, traditions and values affect the ways that families view and navigate our health care system and society. I’m able to bring different perspectives to situations that may not be considered the societal norm. I try to stay curious, expand my knowledge, and also to challenge my perspectives in order to improve how I work with our patients and families.
What does API Month mean to you?
It is a time to honor the historical and current contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States and around the globe, while recognizing the difficulties they had to overcome to reach where they are today. API Month brings opportunities for everyone to come together to learn more about diverse populations and have discussions on issues that can especially affect our community, like the increase in hate crimes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who is an Asian or Pacific Islander you admire and hope people will learn more about?
I’ve always had great admiration for Olympic athletes not just for their physical strength, but also for their dedication and courage to be the best of the best. In 2008, Hidilyn Diaz was the first female weightlifter to compete in the Olympics for the Philippines. In the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021), she won her country’s first ever Olympic gold medal since 1924. Though few will take the journey for the gold medal, Hidilyn’s story of hard work and perseverance is one that is familiar to many Filipinos across the globe in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families.