132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

Healthcare in a multicultural context: A call for sensitivity and pluralism

Lorraine M. Krofssik, Department of Health Professions, Wichita State University, 3804 East Orme, Wichita, KS 67218, (316) 687-5199, lkrofssik@cox.net

Although migration has been present throughout history, the impact is greater than ever. Migration (or immigration) brings similar and dissimilar cultures together, changing the way goods and services are exchanged. Healthcare is a service and the impact of cultural change is significant, requiring adjustments on the part of primary healthcare providers and health educators alike. Unlike other services, healthcare is vital and has a permanent effect on those receiving care. Given the rapidly changing environment in which healthcare takes place, it behooves those in public health and healthcare professionals to understand their patients and alternative practices. Cultural sensitivity is essential to meeting the demands of a diverse population. The United States has a primary focus on biomedicine, explaining illness with pathogens. In order to effectively serve the needs of multicultural or pluralistic clients, knowledge of clients’ approach to health and healthcare is essential. The issues of cultural sensitivity and the need for pluralism are investigated herein, with particular attention given to the Southeast Asian practice of cupping. Findings are based on literature review and one lengthy observation of cupping therapy arranged as part of a graduate public health course in cultural competency. Access was obtained through a long-established community-campus partnership with neighbors in a low-income, diverse community. Participants will be able to recognize signs of cupping therapy and identify clients who use them. In addition, cultural sensitivity will be enhanced among session participants. Session participants will broaden their perspective on healthcare modalities and enhance rapport with multicultural or pluralistic clients.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Asian and Pacific Islander

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Alternative and Complementary Health Practices and Public Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA