Ethnicity and Medical Care equips health professionals with the ethnographic data they need to deliver better health care within American communities of urban blacks, Chinese, Haitians, Italians, Mexicans, Navajos, and Puerto Ricans. Each chapter, dealing in turn with one of these seven American subcultures, reviews the available demographic and epidemiological data and examines sociocultural influences on each major phase of illness.
Topics range from culture-specific syndromes such as susto or “evil eye,” to concepts of disease based on blood perturbations or God’s punishment, to lay-referral networks, consultation of mainstream and non-mainstream sources of medical care, and adherence to treatment regimens. But ethnic behavior often entails general styles of interaction—attitudes toward authority figures, sex-role allocations, and ways of expressing emotion and asking for help—that are carried over into the healthcare setting. Accordingly, Ethnicity and Medical Care also offers general guidelines for providing more personalized, culturally relevant care for any ethnically affiliated patient.