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Immigrant Health: Shamans, ‘Soul Calling’ and the Uninsured – Jennifer Hirsch & Emily Vasquez

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Jennifer S. Hirsch & Emily Vasquez
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

What a bitter irony to read about hospitals’ growing willingness “to consider patients’ cultural beliefs and values.”  In “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul” (September 19, 2009) the New York Times describes the integration of Shamans and their traditional healing practices, including “soul calling” and chanting, at a hospital in Merced, California, that serves patients from a local Hmong community. The program, meant to build understanding between the Hmong and the medical establishment, exemplifies an approach “being adopted by dozens of medical institutions and clinics across the country that cater to immigrant, refugee and ethnic-minority populations.” Read more…

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