Breaking the Cultural Barrier to Medicine

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The statistics are alarming. The Center for Disease Control (2006) reports that an African American child is 2.5 times more likely to suffer from infant mortality than a white child and the rate is rising. Hispanics and African Americans have a rate of Diabetes that is double that of non-Hispanic whites.


As a compliment to that effort, we need to address our state grants to achieve that goal. Our higher educational institutions need to address this problem by establishing new educational programs, increasing cultural competence, and recruiting for diversity.
Health care cultural competency begins with communication. Communication is more than simply knowing the language. Health seeking behaviors are affected by cultural mores and University cultural educational programs should focus on acquiring skills that can elicit the patient's response and define the illness and treatment within their social context (Kirpalani et al. 2006 p.1116). This should also be applied to patients who have limited literacy as these patients usually have less awareness of disease management (Frist 2005 p.447). A grant to establish a course curriculum in diversity communication is a necessary first step to reducing the disparity in the health of our citizens. These skills moderate the patient's participation in medical decisions and treatment.
Communication is more than simply learning the language and the medical terminology. Communication must be culture based. University educational programs that address cultural sensitivity to assure that the caregiver is adequately communicating within the patient's cultural context are imperative. ...
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