He Effects of Culture on Health Care Research Paper

Pages: 10 (2819 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Culture and Health Care

The examination of the influence of culture on health care in the African-American community identified major issues. Firstly, the rate of all major lifestyle diseases is higher in this community than other communities. Secondly, it is highly possible that cultural influences exert a powerful influence on the health care decisions made by individuals. Using secondary data from the Department of health and senior services New Jersey and the New Jersey State health assessment data it could be demonstrated that for every major indicator African-American communities fared worse than White communities did. What is necessary at this stage is a more complete examination of the mechanism through which culture works to influence health care practice and beliefs to reduce the impact of the problem.

African-American, Lifestyle diseases, New Jersey, Culture

The effects of culture on health care

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The delivery of effective care to all citizens is an important consideration for the government. The quality of health care experienced by individuals is related to many factors that are often beyond the control of government agencies. Socioeconomic status, genetics, ethnicity, and other factors contribute greatly to the nature of the health care available as well as the access to health care. These factors however work in combination with the cultural components of the individual or group under examination. Culture consequently plays a moderating role in the discussion of health care. Culture has the capacity to improve of diminish the health of an individual as limit or increase opportunities for care. This assessment explores the influence of culture on the health care of African-Americans. The study examines existing statistical data from state and federal agencies. This data is used to compile a picture of the nature and quality of the health care received by the community.

Research Paper on He Effects of Culture on Health Care Assignment

Culture is a complex and nuanced concept. Thus when we speak of the culture of a people or an individual it relates to both the material and non-material elements of the shared experiences (Macionis & Plummer 2008). In terms of health care, the material elements would be the health care facilities that the individual has access to; hospitals and primary care facilities. These material components of the culture vary in terms of ease of access as well as the quality of staff at the sites. It is known that the hospitals that are in the poorer sections of any community usually do not attract the best staff and are not well supplied. These facilities are oversubscribed as it relates to patients, and underfunded. The physicians are overworked and their remuneration is not compatible with their peers in better-funded institutions. Other administrative issues such as case management and Medicare further complicate this. Consequently, the material health culture of some communities is not as vibrant or as effective as it should be and these individuals have less confidence in the service that is offered.

The non-material elements of the health culture relates to systems of behaviors, beliefs, norms and values that contribute to the reduction in health care for specific groups. These non-material elements influence decisions to seek health care and the understanding of what is a disease (Stowe 2004). Thus, male African-Americans are less likely to seek help for a medical condition and consequently live have a shorter life span (Ferraro, & Farmer, 1996). Many simple illnesses that could be treated in the early stages such as prostate cancer remain undiagnosed and untreated because of values and beliefs. Many men believe that having the examination is degrading and a challenge to their manhood (Lichtenstein, 2004). Under these conditions, it is highly unlikely that they will seek the necessary medical attention to prevent further debilitation and even the loss of life.

Culture therefore becomes implicated as a factor in the lower life expectancy of African-Americans as a community. The effect of culture is further amplified by the role of income and other socioeconomic factors. Wealthier persons live healthier lives and longer lives. This is not a genetic but a social dynamic. Wealthy persons are able to afford medical insurance and they can pay for better care. Additionally, they live in cleaner communities where they are not affected by factors that are connected to hygiene or the environment (Starfield, Shi & Macinko 2005). In many African-American communities, there is a challenge to provide medical care, the cost of which may be prohibitive for many individuals. They are also not employed in industries where a health plan exists so that they do not enjoy benefits that are company sponsored. In this manner, external factors expand the influence of culture beyond a normal range.

Description of Target Population

The population within the Trenton area is a diverse mixture of many ethnicities and races. The African-American population accounts for 52% of the overall population and it is therefore the major population group within the area. Consequently, there should be great concern for the health care of this population and the cost of health care to the wider community. Therefore an examination of the influence of the role of culture on health care is useful in this instance since it is a consideration that will affect all members of the community in one way or another.

(U.S. Census 2000 cited in Trenton 2011)

Not only are African-Americans present in the community in large numbers the levels of education, which are correlated to other important factors is also a source for concern. Twenty four point three percent of the residents have attended college or a technical grad school. While 15.6% did not graduate from high school. Once the implication of this is understood it means that there can be significant health care challenges since persons who did not attend high school are highly unlike to engage in well paying jobs so that they can afford health care. Additionally, the jobs that they do have will most likely not provide any kind of health coverage. These persons are in a difficult position they cannot afford to access quality health care. These jobs are usually highly stressful or dangerous in other ways. The potential for health issues is great and is compounded by the lack of adequate available health care options.

Education and ethnicty

When comparing ethnicities on income levels it can be observed that African-Americans earn less than White Americans. While 74.6% of the white respondents earn more than 35k annually, only 50.3% of the African-Americans earn the same amounts annually. This near 25% gap in terms of persons means that there are a lot of African-Americans who are not where they should be financially. They are most likely unable to afford adequate health care. This is tragic because 35k annually was the upper limit of the study. There are many individuals whose annual income are well below this value.

Income and Ethnicity

The life expectancy of African-Americans trail White Americans in all categories. Males and females live shorter lives when compared to their White counterparts. A White male American can expect to live to 73.4 years and a White female longer, 79.5 years. Black Males and females have a shorter life expectancy. Black males can expect to live only 64.5 years this is almost ten years shorter than White males. Black females while outliving Black males, have a similar life expectancy as White males of 73.1 years. This life expectancy is however 6.4 years fewer than White females (See chart below)

Life expectancy and ethnicity

While African-Americans trail White Americans on may indicators they are ahead on religion. The Pew Foundation notes that African-Americans attend religious services more regularly than White Americans (A religious, 2009 ). They are also more likely to describe themselves as religious (A religious 2009). Religion has played a critical role in the African-American community and this role goes beyond the spiritual dimension. The cultural dynamincs that are associated with religious practice move from belief about fatih healing to civil rights.

Faith healing plays a critical role in the lives of many protestants. As the Pew study notes 74% of all African-Americans belong to a protestant denomination (See table below). This means that their socialization around the issue of health will contain a faith or belief dimension. This belief will include the acceptance of faith healing. Faith healing can be a hinderance to accessing effective medical attention if the individual believes that to do so would be a denial of their faith. In this manner religion can play a critical role in limiting the options available to individuals to addresss medical situations.

Religious affiliation and ethnicity

Another factor that is important in the discussion of culture and health care is diet. The media is replete with examples of African-Americans who are sterotyped as loving fried foods and soda. These two foods are very unhealthy and while the sterotype is inaccurate it invites some investigation into the cultural aspects of diet (Dowd 1996). The study used for this exercise showed that contrary to sterotypes most of the African-Americans had more that 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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