Cultural Sensitivity in the Health Industry- Yessenia Cano
In class today we discussed the importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness in the health industry of a country, specifically the United States. M.D. Chen’s article talked about a Chinese family that suffered generations of liver cancer and how it was the children of the parents who started digging for information and trying to learn about different treatments for their liver cancer. The article went on to talk about the complications cultural insensitivity can cause with someone’s health because the doctor is unaware of how to interact with this person with a different background and they don’t realize something is wrong (Chen, 2009).
This reminded me of my personal experiences with doctors in the U.S. and how some were completely insensitive to my culture and made assumptions without trying to get to know me. For example, I was raised in a conservative religious Mexican family, and so I was extremely shy when getting a physical or talking about personal issues with the doctor. Because of this the doctor assumed there was something mentally wrong with me and I was required to go to counseling. Many of my family members don’t speak honestly with their health care providers because they either can’t speak English well or they don’t trust this person. It was an interesting debate in class, whether doctors and hospitals should learn to adapt to these different cultures or does the individual have to adapt and accept the western health practices? It should be a balance of both, but this is just another example of the importance of intercultural communication and learning how to be open and sensitive to those that are different from what we are used to.
M.D. Chen, W. Pauline. (16 July 2009). Bridging the Culture Gap. The New York Times. Retrieved on 24 February 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/