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Case Study: A health educator of Asian origin with limited English proficiency was questioned by his supervisor regarding the delivery of an educational program on cardiovascular disease to individuals of his same ethnic origin and language. The supervisor angrily accused him of tearing up valuable pretest data and mismanaging project moneys. The health educator kept a physical distance from the supervisor and never looked at him in the eye. The supervisor took this behavior as a sign of defiance and became more upset and threatened to fire him. When speaking to another older Asian colleague in their language of origin, the health educator explained what had happened and how he had been misinterpreted and falsely accused. After the interaction with his supervisor, the health educator quit, let his group go, and no one in that ethnic community benefitted directly from the program.

Discuss the following questions: (a) How did nonverbal proxemics and silence come into play in this interaction, and (b) in what ways could this interaction have gone differently in order to improve communication and outcomes?

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