June 18, 2006
Written by C.N.
Many sociologists — like me in fact — will tell you that demographic change is likely to lead to social/cultural change. One example is what’s happening in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, NYC — the opening of a health center designed to cater to the area’s Asian American population:
The $1 million clinic was carefully designed to cater to Sunset Park’s fast-growing Chinese population, one of the largest in the city. Because the color white is associated with death in China, the walls are mostly painted in yellow and pink tones. And because Chinese immigrants have high rates of tuberculosis infection, every patient is tested for it.
The chefs in the main hospital’s kosher kitchen have learned to prepare rice porridge, a beloved Chinese comfort food. “Language, culture, food — it’s all tremendously important,” Ms. Brier said. . . . It also reflects a broader national shift in health care as urban hospitals move beyond the translation services that started becoming common in the late 1990′s and acknowledge that language is not the only barrier they face in treating people from all over the globe.
Some come from cultures that are broadly skeptical of Western medicine, and prefer the herbs and poultices of traditional healers . . . Others come from cultures where they are expected to hide sickness from strangers, or where it might be offensive for male doctors to examine female patients.
This clinic is a great example of cultural competency at its best — service providers clearly understanding not just their patients’ medical needs, but also their cultural needs, which can be just as important when it comes to improving the patient’s overall state of wellness.
Kudos and congratulations to all involved and I hope that this is the start of a beneficial trend when it comes to social services for the Asian American community — and for that matter, all underserved communities.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Health Clinic Designed for Asian Americans" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/06/health-clinic-designed-for-asian-americans/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=265