Online Program

Traditional health practices among Indiana's racial and ethnic minorities

Monday, November 2, 2015

Priscilla T. Ryder, MPH PhD, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
Anita Ohmit, MPH, Racial and Ethnic Minority Epidemiology Center, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Indianapolis, IN
Chandana Saha, MPH, PhD, Racial and Ethnic Minority Epidemiology Center, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Inc., INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Background/Purpose: Research shows that integrative and complementary health therapies are used by a significant number of U.S. racial and ethnic minorities. Specifically, 55-72% of Chinese-or Vietnamese-Americans; 42% of young Cuban Americans; and 51% of older urban African Americans have shown to use alternative health techniques. Questions regarding traditional health practices (THP) have rarely been asked across these racial/ethnic groups using community-based research.

Methods: A community-based survey on chronic kidney disease was fielded among African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and Asian Americans living in Indiana. THP modalities assessed included acupuncture; consultations with medicine men or curanderos; cupping, spooning, and coining; healing circles and special prayers; and herbal medicine use. 

Results/Outcomes: 1,465 participants completed THP questions. Findings include: 28% used at least one modality, with highest use among Asians (47%), followed by American Indians (42%), Latinos (28%), and African Americans (23%). Among all respondents, special prayers and healing circles and herbal medications were most frequently used (16% and 15% respectively). In logistic regression using all respondents, there were significant associations between THP use and: Being female; being of older age; having more than a high school education; preferring to speak a language other than English; limitations in activities at least 1 day in the previous month; not being able to see a doctor when needed in the previous year; and reporting a higher number of chronic diseases (c2 (7, N=1089) = 120.5, p<0.0005). Predictors of THP use varied by racial/ethnic group. For African Americans, THP use was significantly associated with: Being female; higher education; limitations in activities in the previous month; and not being able to see a doctor. For Latinos, THP was significantly associated with: Limitations in activities in the previous month; inability to see a doctor; and preferring to speak a language other than English. For American Indians, only older age and inability to see a doctor in the previous month were significantly associated with THP.  

Conclusions: Traditional health practices are common among racial/ethnic minorities in Indiana.  To achieve optimal health outcomes in these groups, THP use needs to be assessed and respected.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Identify traditional health practices among African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, and Asian Americans in Indiana. Differentiate between factors associated with traditional health practices in different racial and ethnic groups.

Keyword(s): Minority Health, Alternative and Complementary Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have several publications concerning use of integrative and complementary medicine, as well as numerous publications and professional presentations on health disparities and minority health. I have conducted several community-based assessments working with Indiana Minority Health Coalition and their community partners.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.