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this is it… our final paper for Multi-Cultural Healthcare. Wow, have we watched
a lot of people grow culturally this semester, my self included. It’s amazing
how much can be “undone” in a short period of time. This semester we broke down
some big barriers and really expressed to one another how we feel. This class provided
an amazing conduit for great discussions that might not ever take place outside
of this setting. I think for a lot of people this class is the beginning of
their “awakening” to a world outside of their own. For me it was more of a fine
tuning, and learning to apply what I’ve learned to real life.


I learned from this semester is that it doesn’t matter how culturally aware you
are if you aren’t practicing what you preach. I’ve thought of myself as being
culturally aware for a while now. I immerse myself into foreign cultures when
traveling abroad. I try local cuisine and local entertainment for an authentic
vibe of the native culture. I research a year or more in advance to try and
educate myself on which ever country I’m visiting at the time. I want to know
what are the do’s and don’ts of a particular culture as to not step on any
toes. I do this, not just for me to feel comfortable but for others to feel
comfortable around me… because as many people know it can be challenging
talking to someone who is not native to their culture. They have expectations
and cultural norms that they wish to uphold, but are also aware you have your
own set of customs that you come with.

 I try my best to be a cultural chameleon, by
realizing there is cornucopia of cultural differences across the wide world and
then try to adapt and learn as much as possible from these differences. The
thing is, we are different… and that’s okay. That’s more than okay, that what
makes this world interesting. I feel like a learn something new about another culture
every day. This is what I think will help separate me from a lot of other future
healthcare professionals. I’m not just “okay” with other cultures, I’m genuinely
interested in understanding as much about others’ lives and ways of living that
differ from mine. Understanding people who are different from you and caring
about those who may be treated unfairly is what I believe makes you the best
human being you can be… well at least that what I thought.

This class has
taught me that understanding different cultures and understanding how they might
be placed “behind the eight ball” or how they are mistreated or discriminated against
isn’t the end of the journey of being a culturally companionate human being.
One of the first papers we had to write I said I was culturally competent…
which I was and even more so now than the beginning of the semester. But in saying
that I thought I had reached the peak of the mountain. So, keeping with this
metaphor… you don’t just climb up a mountain, you also have to climb back down.
But climbing down I now have the knowledge I gained climbing up. Climbing back
down and putting the knowledge to use is what I’ve learned is the most
important. We had this open discussion in class recently (do more of these in
future classes, extremely powerful tool) between those who identified with
being Caucasian and those who identified as “other”, I believe. What I took
from this conversation is something I already knew but somehow it hit home a
little harder coming from people I’ve grown to become friends with

First, I’d like to
clarify… having these conversations with your everyday friends isn’t the same.
I don’t know why, maybe it’s because they are your friends and you’d obviously
side with them over anything. So, when we got to talking between the two groups
about what it’s like for the Hispanics or black people (non-dominant cultures) in
the US and see the pain in their eyes and disgust towards Caucasian (dominant culture)
culture… I felt guilty. I was sitting across from these people that I’ve been
bonding with over differences and they looked and sounded like they were in
pain, cultural pain. It was undeniably hard to sit front row while the rattled
off how they are treated and how they feel. I told myself I shouldn’t feel bad
because I do my best to not be a part of this dominant culture that bends its
will over others… but it was right there and then having my new friends looking
at me with such pain and anger. It made me realize I wasn’t doing enough to
help them by being an “ally”.

I can’t remember which
video it was from class, but the message has stuck with me. Non-dominant culture
won’t have a loud enough voice to be heard until people from the dominant
culture start to speak up with them. The dominant culture only hears its self
and anything else it hears is just the sound of an annoying fly buzzing around.
It’s when members of the dominant culture step aside and say “HEY, that’s not
right!” and help speak up for those who aren’t being heard. That’s what causes change
to happen, non-dominant culture needs people with voices that can be heard to
help relay what they have been saying all along. This personal revelation is
what I think will eventually set me apart in the health care industry. I DO see
color, I DO see differences and I DO see the pain and discomfort. I believe,
because of this I won’t just be a better health care professional but also a
better human being with a better understanding on how to use my advantages of areas
I’m considered part of the dominant culture to help others.

health disparity I’m interested in talking about is the infant mortality rate
in Memphis Tennessee. As I’m sure you
are well aware, infant mortality rate is a good measuring stick for a community’s
overall health. “In 2015, infant mortality rate was 10.6 in 100 non-Hispanic black”
(Washington times). The difference in
white infant mortality and black infant mortality in the same city is
astonishing.  Dr.
Helen Morrow of the Shelby County Health Department said. “The infant
mortality rate for African-American infant’s averages about three times higher
than that for white infants.” (wreg.com).

 I did
some research into what causes these disparities. What I found what was that it
was a combination a couple different things. First, the socio-economic status… Caucasian
women come from outside the city into Memphis to have their babies. The
difference in socio economic status between that of white women of the suburbs
and black women from the city leads to a couple of different things. It lowers
their chance of having an education that could benefit themselves and their
baby. It could mean less resources such as prenatal care and quality food. WebMD
and other sources state that stress could be a big cause for low birth weight
in babies. Because of the constant stress of substandard living (Low quality
food, lack of clean drinking water, daily stresses of being part of a minority
group etc.) can ultimately lead to higher infant mortality rates. For instance,
girls who have stressful early childhoods will tend to go through puberty
earlier than their peers (the bodies way of speeding up the life process
because of a stressful environment) which can lead to early teenage
pregnancies. An immature girl who gets can lead to birth complications or low
birth weight etc. All these things can create a stressful environment for the
mother and can release stress hormones into the womb and hurt the chances of
the baby being born healthy. The documentary “Baby Land” says there is a lack
of education for young women who become pregnant. Not to mention the lack of substantial
income that can lend hand into not getting adequate nutrition or making it to
regular doctor visits. Now if Memphis is anything like Detroit, there is no
actual grocery stores (aside from gas stations, liquor stores and fast food)
within the city limits. This can obviously hinder getting the appropriate nutrients
mom and baby need. So, to recap, if mom has a stressful childhood (due to environmental
factors and such) then she possibly goes through puberty earlier and could end
up having a child sooner. This leads to low birth weight and complications
during birth. Then if the baby does make it to birth it is subjected to low
quality food coming from mom because of what she eats and possible lack of
doctor check-ups because of lack of insurance, education, transportation or

That is a lot going against a baby in a city
like Memphis. The saddest thing is Memphis is home to St Jude’s… the charity that
helps kids across the world. Meanwhile, infant mortality is sky high in their
literal back yard. I don’t want to take this into a political direction, but I
find something very wrong with a charity not helping those in need that are
right in front of their faces. Although the infant mortality rate has started
to decrease in Memphis… it is still higher than the nations average and higher
than some 3rd world countries.

All that being said, I’m ready to start putting
my new skills to work and help those in need the help. I’m ready to be the
voice that helps get the attention of people in power within the dominant
culture. This is a quest that you never cease in learning… there is always more
to be educated on and more to learn about different cultures and the way they
experience life. I will do my best to ensure that I use these skills to provide
fair knowledgeable healthcare regardless of my beliefs or of the patients’ beliefs.
As a future professional in the healthcare industry I know that I can set aside
my own thoughts. We all come with different backgrounds, different beliefs, different
political views, and different colored skin…and that’s okay. I just want to
know two things… Who are you? And What can I do to help make your life better?
Its best to get to know who the patient is because then care can be provided at
a high level of quality and understanding.


I'm Simon!

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