Religious Values and Healthcare Accommodations: Voices from the American Muslim Community
- 1.9k Downloads
Minority populations receive a lower quality healthcare in part due to the inadequate assessment of, and cultural adaptations to meet, their culturally informed healthcare needs. The seven million American Muslims, while ethnically and racially diverse, share religiously informed healthcare values that influence their expectations of healthcare. There is limited empirical research on this community’s preferences for cultural modifications in healthcare delivery.
Identify healthcare accommodations requested by American Muslims.
Using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, we partnered with four community organizations in the Greater Detroit area to design and conduct thirteen focus groups at area mosques serving African American, Arab American, and South Asian American Muslims. Qualitative content analysis utilized a framework team-based approach.
Participants reported stigmatization within the healthcare system and voiced the need for culturally competent healthcare providers. In addition, they identified three key healthcare accommodations to address Muslim sensitivities: the provision of (1) gender-concordant care, (2) halal food and (3) a neutral prayer space. Gender concordance was requested based on Islamic conceptions of modesty and privacy. Halal food was deemed to be health-promoting and therefore integral to the healing process. Lastly, a neutral prayer space was requested to ensure security and privacy during worship.
This study informs efforts to deliver high-quality healthcare to American Muslims in several ways. We note three specific healthcare accommodations requested by this community and the religious values underlying these requests. Healthcare systems can further cultural sensitivity, engender trust, and improve the healthcare experiences of American Muslims by understanding and then attempting to accommodate these values as much as possible.
KEY WORDScultural modifications Islam minority health healthcare delivery
- 1.Smedley BD, Stith AY, Nelson AR. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2003.Google Scholar
- 2.Anonymous. Poor communications, cultural barriers impacting quality of health care for minorities. Qual Lett Healthc Lead. 2002;14(4):11–13.Google Scholar
- 3.Cross TL, Bazron BJ, Dennis KW, Isaacs MR. Toward a culturally competent system of care. Georgetown University Child Development Center. 1989.Google Scholar
- 4.United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health. What Is Cultural Competency? Available at: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=11. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 7.Miller T. Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population. Pew Research Center; 2010.Google Scholar
- 8.Ba-Yunus I. Muslims of Illinois, a demographic report. Chicago: East-West University; 1997.Google Scholar
- 9.Obama B. Remarks by the President on a New Beginning. Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-cairo-university-6-04-09. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 10.Allied Media Corp. Muslims American Demographic Facts. Available at: http://www.allied-media.com/AM/. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 11.Hassoun RJ. Arab Americans in Michigan. Lansing: Michigan State University Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- 12.Numan FH. The Muslim Population in the United States. American Muslim Council; 1992; Available at: http://www.uga.edu/islam/muslimpop_usa.html. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 13.Arab American Institute Foundation. Michigan; 20011. Available at: http://www.aaiusa.org/index_ee.php/pages/state-profiles. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 16.Smedley BD, Smith AY, Nelson AR, eds. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2002.Google Scholar
- 17.Israel BA. Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2005.Google Scholar
- 25.Zezima K. The Muslim patient will see you now, Doctor. New York Times. 2004 Sept 1;Sect. Health. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/national/01muslim.html. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 26.Modesty gowns for female patients. British Broadcasting Company. 2006 September 5;Sect. News. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lancashire/5315306.stm. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- 27.Cainkar L. The Impact of 9/11 on Muslims and Arabs in the United States. In: Tirman J, ed. The maze of fear: security and migration after September 11. New York: The New Press; 2004.Google Scholar