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Basic Family Heritage Assessment - Essay on Social and Health Care

4 pages
1011 words
Vanderbilt University
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Developed countries such as the United States and the UK among others are facing massive immigration from other countries (Wintz, 2009). The immigration issue can be attributed to the economic stability in these nations as people leave their less developed economies to find jobs in these developed countries. Further, the improved social amenities like quality education and medical care are the other reason for the massive influx of the population of the developed economies (Muller and Desmond, 1992). Immigration causes a mix of cultures as the people originate from different countries. This poses a challenge to service providers since the cultural variations influence the beliefs of people in some practices in the society. Health professionals such as doctors and nurses have examined the effects of culture on the treatment of people and most studies show that there is a significant relationship between culture and the use of health services of people. Even though some cultural practices have been avoided due to modernity, the effects of these cultures on individuals are still evident.

To offer better health services to people, health practitioners try to understand the culture of the patient and find out the customs, beliefs, and practices that underlie that culture and affect their health needs (World Health Organization, 2005). The African American, Chinese, and the Arab cultures differ greatly and affect the health belief of the members of these communities. Using a heritage assessment tool, this analysis seeks to assess three families from the three cultures. It will present an evaluation of the importance of using the heritage assessment tool in health care for restoration, protection, and maintenance of the health of people in a community.

First Family: African-American Culture

The first family assessed subscribed to the African-American culture. These culture has a strong belief in god and thus often pray that their God helps them always and mostly when they are in need (Wintz, 2009). They also believe that their God offers health and that he protects them from suffering. They also believe that they have a negative force which is demonic and tries to pull them away from their God and cause suffering such as ill-health.

Even though the African - Americans use health facilities, they do not a strong belief in the hospitals and medication they get from these facilities. They believe that the health practitioners offer supportive drugs to their health but their God actually heals them away from the health condition (NAPNAP, 2002). The traditional African-Americans have very little trust in the hospitals and can only seek medical attention from the health facilities when it is very necessary and are closely driven to visit the medication. Most of the people in the culture, however, have some medical cover and take up common vaccinations such as yellow fever injections.

Second Family: Chinese- American Culture

The second family evaluated using the assessment tool ascribe to the Chinese culture. Traditional Chinese are very religious and belong to either Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism or simply an ancestor worship (Muller and Desmond, 1992). They also believe in the Yin and Yang culture where they believe that in every happening in life, there are two opposites. In health, they say that the Yin and Yang relate to health or ill health. According to the Chinese culture, ill health is a form of punishment for a wrongdoing. Based on this, they state that to avoid diseases, people simply need to do the right things always.

The Chinese culture also believes in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where they have a strong belief in traditional forms of curing disease other than simply going to the hospital to get medication (World Health Organization, 2005). Chinese Americans are therefore still affected by this traditional culture and rarely seek medication in the hospital. However, the due to the modernity in the US, they take up medical covers.

The Third Family: Arab Culture

The traditional Arabic culture has however been greatly influenced by the American culture. Though they ascribe to their religious beliefs of Buddhism, both Christianity and Islam religions have influenced the way of life of the Arab family (Wintz, 2009). They seek medical health like the other Americans and take medical insurance covers. They seek medical attention from experts and accept the periodic vaccinations against contagious diseases in the society.

Similarities in the Families Assessed

The families assessed have almost the same beliefs on different life matters. All of them have a strong relation to religion even though the religions are different (World Health Organization, 2005). They cultures believe that there is a supreme being that is powerful. They all worship their different gods and belief that ill-health is a result of a wrongdoing that has displeased the god and thus to get out of the suffering demands that they do not the right thing to appease their god (NAPNAP, 2002). They, therefore, have little faith in seeking medication from the health centers.

Importance of Using the Heritage Assessment

People have varying beliefs that affect their way of life and different occurrences in life. In the health sector, knowledge on cultural beliefs helps the medical professionals to develop the right procedures to offer medication to different people (World Health Organization, 2005). The professionals can also develop approaches to use to reach out to people from different cultures and encourage them to seek professional medical health.



Muller, J., & Desmond, B. (1992). Ethical dilemmas in a cross-cultural context: A Chinese example. Cross-cultural medicineA decade later (Special issue). Western Journal of Medicine, 157, 323-327. Retrieved from;

NAPNAP, (2002). NAPNAP position statement on the pediatric healthcare home. Retrieved August 25, 2003, from National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners at

Wintz, S., (2009). Cultural and spiritual sensitivity. A learning module for health: A learning module for health care professional care professional. Retrived on March 8, 2014, from

World Health Organization. (2005). From Bangkok, A new push for health promotion. Newsletter of the Pan American Health Organization. Retrieved July 11, 2006, from


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