In the documentary, “The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America,” portrays the journey of an immigrant Hmong family battling to maintain their cultural traditions alive in the United States. In the Hmong culture, it is believed that every individual has seven souls and if they have an illness, for example sickness, it means that their soul has departed or taken by evil spirits. Hmong people believe in Shamans, who are gifted and respected people who can make contact with their ancestors and return the lost souls of people. In this documentary, the main character Paja Thao is a shaman who is challenged by American customs to keep his cultural Hmong traditions alive and pass it down to his children. Paja becomes sick because he feels like his children don’t care about the Hmong tradition anymore because they don’t participate in his rituals and realizes his children have assimilated to the American culture. The different ways one can look at Paja’s illness is by acknowledging the Hmong culture and by looking at the perspective of the biomedical world.
After researching the Hmong culture, I learned several interesting facts about their culture, ceremonial practices, and their views on death and dying of a loved one. Many people in the Hmong culture believe in multiple souls that reincarnate. Although for this to occur, these individuals believe that an honored deceased member must have a proper burial to enter the spirit world in a positive way. Funerals in the Hmong culture last for many days, and the more revered the deceased is the longer the funeral may be. Animal sacrifice is a common ritual performed at a Hmong funeral and the animal is used to provide food for the people attending the funeral (Purnell, 2014, p. 246).
This case is about the not knowing the knowledge of the cultural norms practiced. A traditional method of healing, in the Hmong culture, also known as Cao Gio, or "coining. There is another type of healings also used such as “cupping” oil is applied to the area of interest, then a small glass cups are placed; adheres suction to the cup, light is projected onto the cups for about 10-15 minutes. Once removed they leave a symmetrical bruise on the area of interest. The purpose of this technique is to bring the blood flow to the area to help it heal. Yes, I can understand that the bruises that are left behind do look like that the individual was abused. With this being a treatment of medicine in the Hmong culture this should be dismissed as abusive, this method is not abusive at all and while the coining is administered to heal the child. If someone does report this type of case to child protective services, is doing their job as a mandated reporter, but before starting this step, they should first question the parent more about their culture of healing and check in to the procedure of coining before making any judgment calls. I think that as social workers we should be aware and respect the different cultures that we will be in contact and work together. with. I suggest including on the intake forms there
In most of the novel, Fadiman alternates between the specific story of Lia and her family and the general history of the Hmong. She begins at the very beginning of Lia’s story and she tries her best to date the Hmong as far back in history as possible. In comparison, both elements of the story have three main elements: suffering, struggle, and survival. In particular, intense moments of both mental and physical suffering are observed in these parallel stories. Lia clearly endures physical suffering from her violent seizures and the Hmong who had to flee their home country had to walk for miles at a time in large packs. Lia’s parents endured great mental suffering from taking care of Lia 24/7 and the Hmong had to witness their own men being taken away to fight in war, never to return. Continuing with comparison, the plight of the American doctors is as difficult as the Hmong at points. Some of the doctors did have their varying opinions, but most really just wanted to feel that they did their job to the fullest extent. Many hours and thousands of dollars were spent on Lia and her condition. One could say that Fadiman does have bias towards the Hmong, but if she had chosen to completely side with them, she wouldn’t have mentioned the third element of suffering: the doctors who wanted to better a
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman is an analysis of Western medicine and traditional Hmong medicine in the treatment of a young child with severe epilepsy in Merced, California. The book also details Hmong culture, history, and their life as refugees in the United States. The majority of the Hmong populations, especially in central California where the book takes place, rely on welfare and this creates tensions with the other populations in the area. Her book is an eye opening introduction into the Hmong culture, the clash of traditional and western medicine, the discrimination of refugees, and the importance of cultural inclusivity.
The Spirit Catches you and you Fall Down” is an astonishing book that reveals the need for improvement of cultural competency in the American healthcare system. This book teaches me the importance of the role of healthcare administrator as a cultural advocate between the patients and the providers. This book also influences me in realizing the differences between patients’ culture and providers’ culture. Moreover, I can relate to Jeanine Hilt, a social worker who truly cares for the Hmong culture and the Lees Family.
Cultural competency can be described as the ability to interact with different cultures in a positive manner. Many cultural differences can become apparent in a number of situations. According to Fadiman, doctors have a moral duty to save lives even if they don’t agree with the values or beliefs of someone else’s culture (1997). This paper will address the topic of cultural competency, with a concentration on the importance of cultural competency in the medical field.
Humans are complex and diverse beings that belong to different cultures, speak different languages, and have different perspectives on the world they live in. When cultures collide, it can be difficult to empathize and respect the differences that exist. Cultural sensitivity is, “The ability to be appropriately responsive to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of groups of people that share a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic or cultural heritage” (Arnold & Boggs, 2016, p. 119). Cultural sensitivity and effective communication, especially in the health care setting, are essential to bridging cultures and creating a common understanding.
The Spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman presents a case study of a young Hmong girl, Lia, and her journey with Epilepsy in America. Lia at the age of three months began to seize, the family had diagnosed her with qug dab peg which also means the spirit catches you and you fall down (Fadiman 1997:20). However medical doctors had diagnosed her epilepsy (Fadiman 1997:28). Throughout the book she describes the history of the Hmong people, from their displacement in Laos, to their refugee life and Thailand and finally the journey some of the Hmong took to live in America. The book’s main theme is on the medical response to Lia’s disease, and how this clash between
I highly value culture and diversity in our society because it is a huge part of every American’s life, especially mine. I grew up as a Hmong American who was split in-between two distinct cultures, and I struggled of managing through two different cultures and their culture values. I developed many different perspectives on various topics and with the further exposure to health and higher education, I began to appreciate diversity, especially within my Hmong population. I realized the intersectionality of identities and the socioecological concerns a Hmong person may come across as they progress through life.
Due to the growing economy, population diversity is significantly increasing and it is urging health care providers to understand and communicate with diverse cultural and ethnic populations. From here, the term cultural competency was originated and it’s defined as a” set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations”.(1)
Cultural competency in nursing has never been more relevant than in the present day united states. The U.S. has become one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world and population dynamics are changing not only in cities but in rural settings as well. This impacts the healthcare system as different cultures possess varying meanings of appropriate punctuality, eye contact, vocal tone, interpersonal space, diet, touch, religious beliefs, and biological compositions. While I strive to be as inclusive as possible,
The United States is a culture diversity country, and it is sometimes described as a melting pot in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct "flavors" to American culture. The valuable aspect of a nurse is to be a cultural awareness which means to have an understanding of people’s culture is needed in health care is important in order to provide an adequate care to the patients. Diversity awareness also applies to healthcare professionals and other co-workers. Everyone belongs to one or more cultural groups. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that culture can be ever changing, not static. To continue, this article was examined a research into two culture groups the Asian and Latino American college students.
Culture competency is defined as one has the knowledge, the abilities and the skill to deliver care congruent with the patient’s cultural beliefs and practices (Purnell, 2013). As a nurse or a health care provider, increasing ones consciousness of culture diversity improves the possibilities for health care practitioners to provide competent care (Purnell, 2013). Nurses and all health care providers should be aware of other cultures to provide the best care that they can for that individual. Developing a relationship with diverse cultural groups involves good interpersonal skills and the application of knowledge and techniques learned from the physical, biological, and social sciences as well as the humanities (Purnell, 2013). I am choosing to select the Indian culture for my first assignment.