Healing Traditions: Alternative Medicine and the Health Professions

By Bonnie Blair O’Connor | Go to book overview

Resources

Once you are established in a practice area, it will behoove you to gain some depth of understanding of the demographics and cultural diversity of your general area, and of your particular patient population. To find out more about specific populations or groups of people and their commonly represented values, cultural preferences and practices— and specifically, health beliefs and practices—you do have to make a search. This is a partial list of some of the resources you could use in your region of practice to pursue such information. (Examples listed in parentheses are located in Philadelphia, PA.)


Resource People

Colleges and universities, social service agencies, religious and chaplaincy organizations, grass-roots community organizations, and ethnic group or other identity-group associations are good sources of people who might be able to provide information or consultation as well as guide your further searches. At universities, call the folklore, anthropology, and sociology program or department offices, or any department that conducts ethnographic studies—sometimes education, or regional or urban planning, for instance. If there is a local college of pharmacy, see if they have a pharmacognosist on staff: this is a good resource person for information about pharmacological properties of herbal medicaments; toxicologists may be able to inform you about plant toxicities. If there are botanical gardens or arboreta in your area, consult with their botanists about medicinal plants. If there is a school of nursing, find out if they have specialists in transcultural nursing. If there are refugee resettlement agencies, find out what groups they work with, and what background information they can provide. Ethnic associations and some social service organizations can also provide information and referrals, or help locate translators, if needed. Don’t

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