Awareness Creation in Healthcare Should be a Priority in the Developing World

By Calvince Owiti

I was born about two decades ago in a small village in Western parts of Kenya.  I grew up in a humble background, learning all that was relevant that time.  My grandparents were herbal medical practitioners.  I lived with them most of my early life even though my parents were still alive. My grandfather kept on calling me ‘ajuoga’(meaning doctor).  Before he became a herbalist, he had been to a seminary where he was training as a father but left before finishing for a driving job in Tanzania.  He could urge me every morning to study hard in class to become a modern doctor.  They could treat all conditions, including malaria, curses as well as a number of obstetric/gynecological conditions.  However; there was one practice that kept me wondering…

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Social determinants: Why are they so difficult to address?

“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty. 1869

By Greg Gruener

At a lecture I recently attended with our students, the guest speaker’s topic was on health disparities and the data presented was, as most of us in the healthcare field know, pretty conclusive.  I have to admit that I knew and had seen this same information in prior lectures, articles, and had gone over it in small group discussions.  I also knew that health disparities existed because of various social determinants.  While the subsequent discussion moved along, I was left at the reflective starting line since I finally grasped the fact that being caused by social determinants, health disparities could only be completely addressed by changing those same determinants.  This is not news for most people in healthcare as their organizations and schools, unlike business, law, etc., have been charged (and are accredited) with addressing those determinants.  So, despite being immersed in the data, why had it taken me so long to have this aha moment?  Here is my explanation for a cognitive lapse, as informed by Donald Rumsfeld…

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“Under the Mesquite” A Mexican-American Cultural Awareness Narrative for MedEd

By Mark Kuczewski

Helping medical students to gain cultural awareness and insight into the experience of patients and families from backgrounds different than their own is no small task.  And the search for poignant materials that are easily fit within the demanding environment of a medical school curriculum is never-ending. The good news is that I can unequivocally recommend Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Lee & Low Books, 2011). This narrative will help students to gain insight into the meaning of illness within families, especially within the context of a particular contemporary newly-arrived Mexican-American family…Read More »