J Fla Med Assoc. 1997 Aug-Sep; 84(6): 364-73.
Women's health care: cross-cultural encounters within the medical system.
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, USA.
Women, particularly minority women, have inadequate health care and treatment outcomes caused by a number of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Salient external systems factors addressed in this article include the lack of health insurance and the inadequate organization and delivery of health care services, for example, difficult-to-reach clinic locations and limited hours of operation. The multiple family roles of women often necessitate alterations in adherence and treatment activities to fulfill competing time and resource demands. Furthermore, culturally widespread lay therapeutic activities, and more culturally limited ethnomedical practices, are routinely employed by patients, yet often are unknown or not acknowledged by physicians. Internal factors, that is, beliefs and attitudes and their behavioral outcomes, are described for African-American, Latino-American, Haitian-American, Asian-American and Native American patients. Suggestions are made for the enhancement of interethnic physician-patient communication. The medical encounter is the nexus for many factors that influence the quality of women's health care.