What exactly is cultural health? Well, cultural health is a special discipline that covers the health and accurate description of a particular culture. Cultural health is a complex study that can be broken down to national cultural health and ethnic cultural health. National cultural health is basically a study of how healthy a society is culturally nationwide, whereas ethnic cultural health covers the health of a given ethnicity.
The Origins of Think Cultural Health
So how did the organization, “Think Cultural Health” come into being? Well, over the most recent years, there have been growing concerns about different health issues that are affecting American society, which can differ in different ethnic groups. The African American group has its health issues, as does white America, and Latino America.
One example about cultural health in the United States is the growing problem of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. These two issues can be directly linked to obesity. Obesity is a common problem in both white America and in African American society. Typically, what can cause obesity? If you look at American pop culture, you can see that all the foods that cause obesity. These foods range from pizza to sweets and soda pop. Obesity can then lead to diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
With African Americans and Native Americans, culture combined with poverty and the lack of access to proper healthcare can cause many different health issues. The lower income also causes people in these ethnicities to buy lower quality food which costs far less than some of the food found in the more expensive gourmet shops. The whole idea about the Think Cultural Health organization, is to bring equality and health equity to those ethnicities who are struggling the most. There is also a whole science in cultural health.
Along with cultural health, there is cultural competence, which is the capability of effectively dealing with people from different cultures. Many people fail to realize that America is a nation of immigrants and we have practically every culture of the world within our borders. Though some of us may be familiar with mainstream white American or African American culture, but how well can we relate to people from other cultures in the United States. For example, we have a rather large Russian community. Chicago is the largest Polish city outside of Poland, and practically every gas station and convenience store is owned by either people from the Middle East, India, or Pakistan. How can we relate to these cultures, some of which are completely different from mainstream Americana.
Dealing with different cultures and people from different immigrant groups can be very important for many different departments of companies and for healthcare institutions alike. For example, when dealing with Russians, there are things one should do that should not offend them. Russian culture is very different from typical Americana. Though Russians themselves are very cultured and educated, many Russians do have no problem mingling with American society. Though there are large Russian diasporas in America’s major cities, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, many people have been able to understand their culture and are able to help them out.
When it comes to a Middle Eastern society, on the other hand, can be very closed to Americans. Many Americans need to realize that for a Muslim woman, wearing her head dress outside is a big part of their religion. Religion and culture tend to go hand in hand. Islam and Christianity are very different and some things might just not be done in any given religion.
There are things that people need to take into account when working with a wide array of different people from different cultures. The first is to have respect for the people you deal with. To relate with different people, you need to be able to respect their traditions, norms, and other traits.
Cross Culture Healthcare
You might ask why this is important when it comes to cross culture health care? This actually plays a very big role in that. To be able to take care of the health issues in the different ethnicities which we have in this country, you need to be able to understand the antics of these different people. You will need to know how to deal with people from the Middle East and Central Asia. You need to understand that women from that part of the world might not be comfortable undressing.
This is perfectly understandable, but you need to communicate to them the understanding that in the course of a medical examination, women might sometimes have to undress, but it is to their benefit. In order to find health issues, such as breast cancer, women might have to undress for the doctor to perform a normal medical examination.
Likewise, in American culture, you will notice that it is men that are more often to be sick than women. This is because men are designed to be tough and therefore, they never verbalize what is ailing them. It is very important to acknowledge that it is okay to verbalize to our loved ones what bothers, it doesn’t matter whether that’s a man or a woman.
Men often die from diseases that could have been treated easily, yet it wasn’t “macho” to verbalize whether men were to be sick. The best example of this is to look at diseases that often affect men. Prostate cancer is a perfect example of this. Prostate cancer is one cancer that can easily be treated and yet many men die from it. They let it get out of hand. Why? The answer, men often don’t talk about their health, even with close loved ones. This is where cross culture healthcare comes in. It teaches people in the healthcare industry to be able to relate to people of different cultures and sections of our own culture.
Dealing with many different subcultures which exist within our own culture is also an important aspect of cross culture healthcare. This is not just dealing with Americans in general, but what are the issues that bother different aspects of American society. Why is it that African Americans and Native Americans tend to have more health issues than other Americans? Have you noticed that African Americans are more often to be obese and have diseases caused by obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease? This can also be found in poor white Americans. Why is this? Why is it that those of a lower income tend to have more of these serious health issues?
Let’s look beyond the cost of quality healthcare. Yes, quality healthcare and having a good health insurance policy that covers good health care costs can be more expensive, we need to look at how we can avoid or reverse the health inequality within the US. This is where cross culture healthcare comes into play. We need to organize groups of healthcare professionals who understand the issues that lower income Americans face on a daily basis. The biggest is the lack of money to have good quality healthcare. The state subsidized healthcare that most lower income people take advantage of might not necessarily have the resources as the most expensive hospitals and clinics might have like fancy medical equipment or advanced remote desktop software to make administration easier. We need to see how we can equalize this without compromising the economic situation that most low income Americans already face.
This can be done rather successfully by different charities. This means that charities, such as the American Red Cross need to step up to the plate. Churches should also get involved. Many churches nationwide provide free healthcare through open door clinics. What many low income Americans don’t realize, however, is that they can get high quality healthcare without having to pay for it. How is this possible? Well, according to the hypocritical oath that physicians take requires them to offer a small percentage of their services for free for those people who cannot afford it. This also applies to hospitals. No hospital emergency room can turn someone back simply because they cannot pay their medical bills. Many hospital administrators will work with you to see how you can best pay for treatments you received in a particular hospital. If your income is at a low enough level, you won’t have to pay for your healthcare. That’s right! You can get free treatment and be better off.
The above mentioned is often taken advantage of by many of the Latino Americans, many of who come from Mexican families who are here illegally. We can use the same system, but we simply do not know it. When it comes to cross culture healthcare, we need to educate the public that hospitals are required to treat anyone, regardless whether they can pay their medical bills or not. In today’s tough economy, many Americans have lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs. This means that many Americans do not realize that due to no health insurance does not necessarily mean that they will be denied healthcare when they go to the doctor or the hospital. This has also led to many families losing their homes since they have to loan against the house just to pay the medical bills and also forced them to take an unfavorable guaranteed loan that they can’t pay back.
In a failing economy, addiction has become a greater problem in our society. Addiction comes in many disguises such as drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and gambling. If we take gambling as an example, over 85% of Americans have gambled in their lifetime and 60% of Americans continue to gamble every year, reports CasinosOnline.com in a news article. That’s over half of the adult population that gambles both online and offline.
If you suspect that a family member, friend or co-worker has an addiction problem, there are ways to help them. Finding local support groups is a good start, and surrounding yourself with people facing the same addiction is comforting for most – knowing that they are not alone dealing with this problem.
The Think Cultural Healthcare organization is an important organization to help the different aspects of our eclectic society to get the necessary healthcare they need.