Culture and Diversity Awareness in Public Health

Introduction

Certain populations may experience disadvantages such as high burdens of disease, injury, violence, or lack of opportunity to achieve optimal health. Such populations may be defined by a number of factors, commonly including race or ethnicity, education, income, disability, geographic location (for example, rural or urban), gender, or sexual orientation. Fairness demands that public health leaders address preventable health disparities in disadvantaged populations. Understanding culture and diversity is critical to developing effective and equitable public health strategies and interventions to meet such needs.

Instructions

For this assignment, you will research a culturally diverse population that experiences inequalities in health status when compared with the majority. (Note: In order to keep selections as diverse as possible, you are not permitted to choose African American, Hispanic or Native American populations. If you have trouble determining a group to study, ask your instructor for assistance.)

Analyze this population from the perspective of relevant diversity theories:

Why is this population considered diverse?

What is the current health status of this population?
Identify and analyze the health-related inequalities they experience compared to the majority.
Does this population have any special health vulnerabilities or high incidences of certain health challenges?
Analyze how cultural practices of this population may impact the effectiveness of public health practices:

Do they tend to have certain behaviors that affect health?
Are health challenges broadly experienced by this population related to past and/or current disparities in their access to health services or social, political, economic, and/or environmental resources?
Next, identify and analyze one specific public health problem that this population experiences, and design a public health strategy to address the problem. (Note: In order to keep selections as diverse as possible, you are not permitted to choose HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or obesity. If you have trouble determining a health problem, ask your instructor for assistance.)

Finally, discuss the following questions:

How does culture relate to people’s perception of illness and health?
Why might some cultures think of illness as “normal?”
Why is it important to assess the relationship between health and culture when designing health care interventions for special populations?
How do these questions relate to the population you researched?

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