My Cultural Health Experiences

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I was raised in a working middle class family in a small town outside of Los Angeles. My parents stayed together during my upbringing and I spent my entire childhood and teen years in the same house with the same neighbors. I went to high school with the same students I attended kindergarten with. My mom was a grocery checker, and had been since she was seventeen, and my father worked in construction. My father paid the majority of our bills, but it was my mom’s health insurance that we relied upon. She had such good coverage that we never had to pay to see any doctor and all of our medications were free. I was even able to receive a full set of braces at no cost to my family. Because of this, I spent most of my childhood under the impression that all health care was free and accessible to everyone. I literally had no idea other people had to pay money to see a doctor or get medicine. It was not until after my mom’s grocery union went on strike in 2004 that we started having a copay for doctor’s visits and prescriptions.
My parents always made sure my
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Most of the patients were Hispanic and spoke only Spanish and some limited English. Since then, I spent two years in Fiji Islands working on a community health empowerment project for the Peace Corps. It was at this time I encountered cultural health practices so vastly different than my own, it took me two years just to begin to understand. Although most of the local beliefs were rooted in folklore rather than science, I had to learn to reach patients in a way that would continue to respect their beliefs while still providing health education they would understand. I believe this experienced has forever changed the way I view and understand the importance of providing culturally sensitive and competent care. I believe all people, from all walks of life, deserve access to adequate
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