A Guide to Ethnic Health Collections in the United States

A Guide to Ethnic Health Collections in the United States

A Guide to Ethnic Health Collections in the United States

A Guide to Ethnic Health Collections in the United States

Excerpt

The United States of America is a mosaic of different ethnic groups whose cultural background provides a benchmark for the types of health issues that might affect individuals within that group. For these minorities it is often difficult to gain a complete understanding of group health problems because the types of studies needed, the kinds of research tools and the lack of a methodology for systematically monitoring medical problems are unavailable.

What evidence is available for understanding disease and illness within these groups paints a bleak picture if contrasted within the dominant Caucasian culture population.

The important ethnic minorities are generally identified as those persons of African American, Hispanic, Pacific Asian American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native or Samoan descent. It must be clearly understood that not all minorities suffer from the same health problems nor do these groups have the same or even similar mortality rates.

What makes these different ethnic.groups interesting is that much of their health status is intricately bound to differences in lifestyle behavior. These lifestyle differences can be attributed to cultural behavior found within each group.

Health-seeking activities, health promotion behavior, doctors visits, medication taking behavior and use of alternate medicines can all be linked to the ethnic templates that make each individual part of the larger whole.

Similarly, each group is composed of many other identifiable, smaller ethnic groups that make the examination of health issues problematic. For example, Native Americans are represented by over 300 different peoples. For the sake of convenience, the entire population is called "Native Americans. . . ."

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