Why do we need to study multicultural health?

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March 21, 2022
Discussion: The Protected Material
March 21, 2022

Why do we need to study multicultural health?

Why do we need to study multicultural health?
Discussion: Multicultural Health Integration

Why do we need to study multicultural health? Why is culture important if we all have the same basic biological makeup? Isn’t health all about science? Shouldn’t people from different cultural backgrounds just adapt to the way we provide health care in the United States if they are in this country?

For decades, the role that culture plays in health was virtually ignored, but the links have now become more apparent. As a result, the focus on the need to educate health care professionals about the important role that culture plays in health has escalated. Health is influenced by factors such as genetics, the environment, and socioeconomic status, as well as by other cultural and social forces. Culture affects people’s perception of health and illness, how they pursue and adhere to treatment, their health behaviors, beliefs about why people become ill, how symptoms and concerns about the problem are expressed, what is considered to be a health problem, and ways to maintain and restore health. Recognizing cultural similarities and differences is an essential component for delivering effective health care services. To provide quality care, health care professionals need to provide services within a cultural context, which is the focus of multicultural health.

Multicultural health is the phrase used to reflect the need to provide health care services in a sensitive, knowledgeable, and nonjudgmental manner with respect for people’s health beliefs and practices when they are different from our own. It entails challenging our own assumptions, asking the right questions, and working with the patient and the community in a manner that respects the patient’s lifestyle and approach to maintaining health and treating illness. Multicultural health integrates different approaches to care and incorporates the culture and belief system of the health care recipient while providing care within the legal, ethical, and medically sound practices of the practitioner’s medical system.

Knowing the health practices and cultures of all groups is not possible, but becoming familiar with various groups’ general health beliefs and preferences can be very beneficial and improve the effectiveness of health care services. In this text, generalizations about cultural groups are provided,
but it is important to realize that many subcultures exist within those cultures, and people vary in the degree to which they identify with the beliefs and practices of their culture of origin.

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