Health and Culture

 Western and Eastern Heath Care Philosophies


  • Western society has embraced a highly specialized model for health care
  • The medical physician treats the physiological components of the body
  • Social services, psychologists, and psychiatrists attempt to treat emotions and social relations
  • The pastoral counselor provides spiritual guidance

  • Mind body and spirit are viewed and treated as discrete entities

  • Healing process becomes more fragmented as the separate health care entities lack central communication


  • Eastern philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine
  • Health as a holistic concept of an individual and his or her environment
  • Health is perceived as a harmonious equilibrium
  • Mind, body and spirit 

  • The specialized Western model has allowed many advancements in the physiological, and psychological fields
  • The Eastern model has been used for thousands of years


  • A person may receive chemotherapy to stop cancer growth, but if that person suffers from depression from the reality of his or her new limits, does the person heal as well?
  •  If a person is treated for depression, will the different doctors communicate about that person’s concurrent treatments?

Health Care Costs

Single Payer Health Care Systems

  • Covers everyone under a single, publicly financed insurance plan
  • Taiwan is one of many countries that use this system
  • Taiwan's health plan covers 23.4 million citizens
  • Taiwan spent 6.63% of the country’s GDP on health care
  • Same benefits, regardless of income or location
  • Greatly benefits the Taiwanese

Two-tier System

  • First tier: universal access to basic health services
  • Second tier: luxurious access to those citizens who are willing to pay
  • The Netherlands operates under this system
  • They believe people have the right to choose to manage their own healthcare
  • Responsible for financial burden of unhealthy lifestyle if not covered under 1st tier

Insurance Mandate System

  • Requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a fine
  • Individuals who are not covered by employer-based insurance programs can buy insurance at group-based rates
  • Expansion of Medicaid to a wider variety of income levels
  • US employs this system
  • Percentage of insured workers in the United States is now at 99.6

Sex in Culture

HIV/AIDS education program, United States and Nepal


  • Social learning theory: preventative and precautionary behavior has positive repercussions; risk related behavior has negative consequences
  • Social ideology affected the success
  • Nepal is a patriarchal collectivist community
  • Girls within the community are discouraged to speak and judgmental attitudes towards AIDS
  • Karmic disease only affecting bad people

United States

  • Less oppressive to women and values individualism
  • Personal capability is promoted, which includes physical health
  • Women more likely to discuss with physician


Necessity of culturally relevant school education curriculum in order to facilitate participation from the society

Birth Control

Cultural perceptions of the normalcy of sex influenced the attitude of parents and what they believe is an appropriate age to impart birth control cognizance

  • France and Sweden have a strong universal perception that having a baby in adolescence is bad
  • European and Nordic countries accept sex activity between the young and unmarried as natural
  • United States: pregnancy is a consequence of premarital sex


There is a cultural variance concerning the importance of knowledge and access to birth control

Sex Education

  • US: conservative federal sex education, abstinence only programs
  •  Norway: nationally regulator curriculum that covers contraceptives, pregnancy, ethics, sexual orientation, STI prevention, and relationships
  • France and Sweden: government programs that aid in taking care of pregnant women and children while promoting early education on sex issues

Doctor Patient Relations

  • Doctor patient relationships are varied across cultures 
  • Asian culture treat doctors as authority
  • Pacific Islanders regard doctors as venerable
  • Hispanic culture value a more friendly open approach with their doctors
  • Americans are less reserved with their relationship to their doctors

The differences in culture and cultural values change the way patients interact with their doctor

Maternity Treatment

  • Maternity care varies across cultures
  • United States guarantees 12 weeks of maternity leave, not necessarily paid
  •  UK, after working in job 1 1/2 years woman gets maternity leave. Receives 90% of their pay for six weeks and then around two hundred US dollars for the next 30 weeks.  
  • German mothers also receive 14 weeks of maternity leave at full pay.  

How Important is Maternity Leave?

  • The length and pay of maternity leave has a significant effect on the long-term mental health of the mother
  • A leave of greater length benefits the mother and child around the time of birth, but also contributes to the healthy aging of the mother 
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by denniswilson


Public - 4/18/16, 2:24 PM