Title

If Rituals Go Wrong: Understanding the Female Somali Refugee Experience in Health Clinics in Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Ryland White

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand how Somali refugees experience a patient-physician clinical interaction; to understand the Somali cultural values and beliefs around health and patterns of care; and to gain further understanding of the differences in health services in Somali and health services in Portland, Oregon.

As a result of global migration, communities worldwide are experiencing the phenomena of intercultural communication that challenge systems and institutions. An interaction between a female Somali refugee and a healthcare practitioner in a Western-based American health clinic is one such circumstance that can greatly affect the ability to deliver and receive a vital service. With approximately 3,000 Somali refugees residing in Portland, it is important to examine the experience of female Somali refugees with health clinics.

The research will demonstrate the high context communication of female Somali refugees; the influence of religion on their health; their belief that health problems are generally non-preventative from a bio-medical standpoint; their preference for folk remedies and consistent practitioners who take time to build relationships; and their overall frustration with the phone-based appointment system and paperwork of a Western-based health system. The research offers recommendations for practitioner and refugee training; as well suggestions for community-based healthcare.

Disciplines

Health Services Administration | International and Intercultural Communication | Other Public Health

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