Health Promotion in Minority Populations
Select an ethnic minority group that is represented in the United States (American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander). Using health information available from Healthy People, the CDC, and other relevant government websites, analyze the health status for this group. Describe the ethnic minority group selected. Describe the current health status of this group. How do race and ethnicity influence health for this group?
What are the health disparities that exist for this group? What are the nutritional challenges for this group?
Discuss the barriers to health for this group resulting from culture, socioeconomics, education, and sociopolitical factors.
What health promotion activities are often practiced by this group?
Describe at least one approach using the three levels of health promotion prevention (primary, secondary, and tertiary) that is likely to be the most effective in a care plan given the unique needs of the minority group you have selected. Provide an explanation of why it might be the most effective choice.
What cultural beliefs or practices must be considered when creating a care plan? What cultural theory or model would be best to support culturally competent health promotion for this population? Why?
Health Promotion in the African Americans
A minority group defines a populace who, due to their cultural and physical characteristics, have been singled out from the rest in a society in which they thrive in for unequal and different differential treatment. In the United States, the minority group include the four distinct ethnic and racial groups: American Indians and Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, Asians, and the African Americans. Therefore, the group regards itself as an object of collective discrimination. This paper will focus on the African Americans as a minority group, discuss the health disparities and nutritional challenges for the minority group, assess the barriers to health for minority group, health promotion activities practiced by the group and discuss cultural competent health promotion strategies for this ethnic minority population.
African Americans are the largest ethnic group in the United States. African Americans are of an African ancestry although some have nonblack descent. This minority group is fundamentally the descendants of slaves- individuals who were brought from their original African homes and forced to work in the New World. Their rights were blatantly deprived and for a long time, denied an equitable share in the political, economic, and social progress of the United States (Williams, Priest, & Anderson, 2016). Nonetheless, this minority group-the African Americans- have basic but lasting contributions towards the American culture and history.
As Purnell et al. (2016) points out, a number of health disparities and nutritional challenges exist for this group. Several factors in the physical environment directly impact the health status of all populations including the African Americans. The quality of housing of African Americans affects their health status as a good percentage of them live in the state’s lowest quality housing. Diseases like Asthma are related to poor housing as this minority group is disproportionately affected by Asthma. The segregated housing is associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which black Americans have been subjected to. African Americans live in poor neighborhoods with progressive incidents of homicide. They are even less likely to work out and gain the benefits of exercise due to their safety concerns (Purnell et al., 2016). Moreover, transportation has been reported as an issue among the poor communities, which presents obstacles to accessing quality health care services, exclusively preventive care. With regards to the nutritional challenges, access to healthy and reliable foods is a frequent problem among African American communities. Most neighborhoods lack access to supermarkets selling fresh produce and other healthy foods. They have significantly lesser shopping markets than the whites. A number of studies have documented that the food available to poor black neighborhoods is usually less fresh and of low quality than the whites (Calabrese et al., 2015).
There are several barriers to health for the minority group. Race and ethnicity have influenced the health status of African Americans. Studies show that African Americans use medical services of low quality which do not require a provider’s intervention. The racial bias and patient preferences contribute to health disparities even though their effects appear minute (Purnell et al., 2016). Medical interactions require effective communication as it plays a critical role during decision making on health behaviors and subsequent interventions. Research has confirmed that doctors display poor communication skills with patients from the minority group than with the rest. Such disparities in health service care and outcomes have been collectively attributed to poor health care for blacks.
Compared to whites, African Americans have limited accessibility to quality education, have greater probability of being underinsured, earn lower income, have lower rates of private health insurance coverage, and a highly depend on public health care programs. All these factors are barriers to health promotion as they impede the ability to obtain timely and quality care services. Nevertheless, the most intriguing is the fact that the minority group uses services that require a doctor’s order –operations, invasive procedures and hospitalization- at lower rates than the white despite their access to care, diagnosis or severity of illness being the same (Calabrese et al., 2015).
The barriers to health for this group result from culture, socioeconomics, education, and sociopolitical factors. Poverty and unemployment limit accessibility of this minority group to improved and affordable health care as they cannot afford medical expenses (Williams, Priest, & Anderson, 2016). Black women have, therefore, been subjected to poor reproductive health and birth outcomes due to the hard economic times. These factors affect the black families at multiple levels: inadequate access to preventive healthcare, low access to healthy food and poor nutrition levels (Williams, Priest, & Anderson, 2016). Low levels of education also limit the minority group from making sound life choices to improve their health status quo.
Politically, the development of health policies has been regarded as the responsibility of whites, and a little or no representation of the black population. They lack a voice in health policy implementation. The culture is built in a way that blacks are looked down upon due to racial disparities. Here, primary care physicians adopt a thin biomedical communication pattern with the minority group as opposed to the whites, which is a trend associated with low satisfaction for patients and their families.
The minority group currently practices a number of health promotion activities. Some people have resorted to seek help and guidance from the church purposely to watch their health conditions recover. Others use health educators like Health Extension Practitioners to help individuals learn and acquire skills to detect diverse diseases in their early stages. Some have developed campaigns to address issues of racial imbalances and how they affect access to quality care for all persons. It should be a requirement that all healthcare providers obtain accurate and regular training and refreshing session on provision of equitable care (Calabrese et al., 2015). The strategy should be viewed as an urgent national goal requiring and rebuilding several social development and community health programs.
Given the unique needs of the black Americans, the primary level of health promotion and disease prevention is the most appropriate prevention measure where the minority group is educated on preventive health measures to reduce the existing health disparities. The group should be encouraged to take part in immunization and adopt to regular exercises to reduce incidences of chronic diseases. The goal is to reach out and mentor those who lack the tools to settle for better and more informed health decisions. The already introduced Affordable Care Act should be expanded to access and cover the needs of the African Americans. The policy should cover even the preventive measures that limit more severe health problems. Physicians should break the ethnic and racial wall that limits them from providing care to the blacks and this should be handled as a serious policy against which no care provider should breach.
Cultural competence in healthcare boosts the ability to provide effective care to patients from diverse backgrounds, behaviors and values. Key to this patient-centered care is the potentiality to educate and engage people regarding their health needs. It is important to consider language barriers so that the care plan is executed in a language and policies that can be readily understood by people (Purnell et al., 2016). Different ethnic values and beliefs affect the perception of heath, illness, approaches to health promotion, beliefs about causes of a particular illness, where patients should seek help and the categories of treatments preferred by patients. The most appropriate theory to support culturally competent health promotion for this population is the Leininger’s Culture Care Theory. It contains three theoretical care models that offer creative, new, and varying therapeutic procedures to help minority group access readily available and affordable care. It emphasizes the importance of transcultural nursing as a discipline and body of practices to maintain culturally congruent care level for general health and wellbeing of persons, regardless of their racial factors.
In conclusion, the African Americans comprise the largest ethnic minority group within the United States. The current health status of the group needs immediate attention as racial and ethnic disparities continually influence health for the group. A number of health disparities and nutrition challenges exist for this group. The group has, therefore, taken up certain health promotion activities which have, however, been proven to fragment the quality of care services that the group should actually be entitled to. It is important to consider certain cultural practices and beliefs when creating a care plan, especially for such a disadvantaged group.
Calabrese, S. K., Meyer, I. H., Overstreet, N. M., Haile, R., & Hansen, N. B. (2015). Exploring discrimination and mental health disparities faced by black sexual minority women using a minority stress framework. Psychology of women quarterly, 39(3), 287-304.
Purnell, T. S., Calhoun, E. A., Golden, S. H., Halladay, J. R., Krok-Schoen, J. L., Appelhans, B. M., & Cooper, L. A. (2016). Achieving health equity: closing the gaps in health care disparities, interventions, and research. Health Affairs, 35(8), 1410-1415.
Williams, D. R., Priest, N., & Anderson, N. B. (2016). Understanding associations among race, socioeconomic status, and health: Patterns and prospects. Health Psychology, 35(4), 407.