CNU Spotlight on Diversity
David Jull-Patterson, Ph.D.

Dr. David Jull-Patterson is a gay man, a licensed psychologist, a Certified Group Psychotherapist, a Fellow in Thanatology with the Association of Death Education and Counseling, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at CNU.

Name: David Jull-Patterson Ph.D.

Role at CNU:
Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology Program (since Fall 2019)

CNU Courses:
Advocacy and Social Justice
Foundations of Behavior: Social and Cultural
History and Systems
Human Diversity and Cultural Differences
Practicum Case Conference 2

CNU Committees
Co-Chair – Diversity and Inclusion
Member – University Appointments, Ranking, and Promotions

CNU College of Psychology Committees
Member – Admissions
Member – Clinical Training
Member – Curriculum
Member – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Member – Faculty Hiring
Member – Student Professional & Academic Standards

After completing a tour of duty with The Old Guard, the U.S. Army’s ceremonial unit in Washington DC, Dr. Jull-Patterson received his BA at San Francisco State University. He earned his MA in Counselor Education with an emphasis in thanatological counseling from New York University and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto. His internship and post-doc were completed at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where his training was focused in health psychology.

He first started seeing clients in 1983 as a peer counselor at an LGBT community-based clinic in Berkeley, CA. After returning to California once he finished his degree at NYU, he was licensed as a marriage, family, and child counselor in 1991 and as a psychologist in 1996. He provided clinical services for adults in the private practice he maintained for 35 years; as part of his practice he facilitated a number of long-term HIV+ gay men’s therapy groups, with the longest running for nine years. He closed his practice after moving to the Sacramento area and joined CNU as a full-time faculty member in the summer of 2019.
Major clinical and academic interests include stress and coping as related to life-threatening illness, the use of ritual, faculty development, ethics and hastened death, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and cultural diversity and social justice. He is a Fellow in Thanatology (FT) with the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

While he worked as a psychotherapist, he also engaged in a variety of teaching activities. He started teaching when he was an intern at UCSF and continued there for the next 24 years. By the time he left UCSF he advanced to clinical professor and was inducted into the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators and received numerous teaching nominations and awards, including Inspirational Teacher and Excellence in Clinical Small Group Teaching. He was also an adjunct faculty member at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology where he taught courses in cultural diversity and in psychotherapy with gay men. As an adjunct professor at Alliant International University he taught courses in ethics, loss and grief, cultural diversity, and palliative care. He joined the American Psychological Association’s HOPE (HIV Office for Professional Education) Program where he was one of two men in the U.S. trained by APA to offer workshops on the specialty area of women and HIV, as well as workshops on general HIV psychology information and two additional specialty areas: communities of color, and ethics. He was asked to join the senior faculty in the program and taught in national train-the-trainer programs as well as provided continuing education workshops nationally; he received the Top Trainer Award for his teaching work with HOPE. He has trained more than 2800 California-licensed mental health service providers in the fundamentals of HIV mental health care, as well as hundreds of providers in ethics continuing education workshops through UC Berkeley Extension.

Other professional positions include serving as the director of diversity training and curriculum development for a national health care insurance company, and the manager of bereavement services for a tertiary care hospital’s pediatric palliative care program.

Dr. Jull-Patterson served as the chair of the Training Committee for APA Division 44 (Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity) and currently is the Chair of the California Psychological Association Ethics Committee.

Additional community service activities include being a docent for the America On Stage: 200 Years of the Performing Arts exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; serving as a trainer and consultant for the Peer Spiritual Support Project at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York, NY; and providing volunteer resident support at Maitri Compassionate Care (hospice) in San Francisco.

What diversity means to me:

As a supply sergeant with the Army, I found myself acting in the role of what I later learned the social work literature calls a “community helper” with the other men in my platoon. They would stop by my supply room after conducting a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and debrief (although we didn’t call it that) particularly difficult ceremonies, or just how hard is was sometimes to look into a spouse or parent’s eyes while giving them the folded flag that had draped the coffin. I became the unofficial death and dying peer counselor for my colleagues; while taking on this role while only in my late teens, I saw how, when the cultural background of the families matched the soldiers providing the ceremony, the impact could be particularly emotionally painful.
After I returned to California and finished my bachelor’s degree I fell in love with a rabbinic student and moved to Brooklyn. Not long after I started the counselor education program at NYU, I got a job in the first New York City public hospital AIDS-focused team, based in the Spanish Harlem barrio of Manhattan. Having been born and raised in the northern Central Valley of California in a WASP family of English and French descent, my introduction to the variety of cultures I experienced, both through my home life and my professional life, was eye-opening, to say the least. I quickly found I had a huge amount to learn about other people, but particularly about myself and my limited understanding of how my background affected me and insulated me from understanding the privileges I have as a White man. I understood some of the lack of privilege I experienced as a gay person, but my ignorance about other groups was pervasive.
I continue to explore, learn, and become aware of the many varieties of diversity, and particularly delve into how intersectionality, that interconnected nature of social categorization, has a deep impact on how I comprehend the world. Now in an interracial relationship and having raised four African American children (spending years walking into their schools as the gay White parent), my continual development of my understanding and experience of these topics has a significant effect on how I structure the courses I teach, how I interact with students, my support and care toward my colleagues, and how I move through the world as both a targeted and privileged person.

Why I Do This Work:

Because issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice have profound effects on people in my social, professional, and family life, I have been allowed to witness first-hand a small amount of how these topics are part of a daily experience for people beyond my immediate circle. One experience really brought all this to the fore.

While working in the Manhattan city hospital that acted as a safety-net institution for the neighborhood, I had a medically hospitalized patient who was going to have a subclavian venous catheter inserted into her shoulder. Since it was a fairly common procedure done at the bedside, Ms. Rodriguez, who was nervous getting the catheter inserted, asked me if I would hold her hand while the catheter was placed. I told her I would be happy to do that, and I was relieved when the chief resident came into her room to do the procedure. I liked Henry and was glad he was the one who would be taking care of our patient. Unfortunately, he had a difficult time accessing the vein, and after the fifth time sticking Ms. Rodriguez with the needle, she started to cry in pain and said, “Can’t you get it in there?” Our chief resident’s frustrated response? “I wouldn’t have this problem if you hadn’t shot up drugs so much!” That was the point that I said, “Henry, let’s stop this for now.” He replied, “No, this has to go in.” “Henry, stop this now.” “Dammit.” He put the needle and tubing down on a tray and simply walked away.
After Ms. Rodriguez and I had cleaned up the blood that had dripped down her shoulder and chest, I went and found one of the attending physicians who was also a good friend. Ted immediately came to the patient’s bedside, apologized for what had happened, got a new catheter and tubing…and inserted the catheter on his first attempt.

I went home that night angry, shocked, and saddened. What had led Henry to react that way? Was it because our patient was a woman? A person from the Dominican Republic? A sex worker? An intravenous drug user? A person with AIDS? What would lead him to so debase his profession? And why would any of these make any difference in the quality of care our patient received? Then I was struck by a sobering thought: How many patients had this kind of experience in a health care setting, but had no one there to advocate for them? Or who witnessed what happened but didn’t, for whatever reason, speak up?
Thirty-five years later, I still remember Ms. Rodriguez, and I don’t want any other patient to experience what she did. And I certainly don’t want another health care provider to so pervert the original intention they had as they started their education in their chosen field. No one enters graduate school wanting to cause harm and provide poor care. Students have the highest aspirations while they are being trained, and I do all I can to help our students learn how to maintain those high ideals during their schooling and into their careers. How to not simply notice, but to give voice to what they see and move their awareness into advocacy. The patients who put their lives into our hands deserve nothing less. Neither do my students. This is why I do this work.