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At the Interface of Culture and Medicine

Edited by Earle H. Waugh, Olga Szafran, Rodney A. Crutcher

Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9780888645326
Pages: 316 Size: 9x6

In this groundbreaking contribution to the field of culture and medicine, twenty-five professionals in medicine, nursing, and the social sciences have contributed fourteen papers on the influence of culture in health care. The topics range from the perception of skills of international medical graduates, to conflicting expectations of patient care of various cultural groups, to cultural issues at the end of life. Health care educators, practitioners, sociologists, policy makers, and learners at all levels will find this book makes a significant foray into an underexplored sector of research. [Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSJCuGeE5M0]

Earle H. Waugh is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and Healing in the Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta in Edmonton.Olga Szafran is Associate Director of Research in the Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta in Edmonton.Rodney A. Crutcher is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, and founding Director of the Alberta International Medical Graduate Program (2000-2008).

This edited volume asks, and begins to answer, important questions.... Waugh, Szafran and Crutcher present a variety of perspectives about Canadian efforts to expand the cultural consciousness of existing practices and practitioners, looking at immigrant Chinese, Francophone and Muslim issues as well as Aboriginal needs and approaches.... [T]his collection goes beyond thematic good intentions to explore challenging and practical examples of intercultural innovation and understanding. It is therefore a useful tool for practitioners and researchers interested in this vital and potentially lifesaving interface for healing.

– Carol Burbank, Indigenous Peoples, Issues & Resources

This collection makes a key contribution to the topic of culture, medicine, and health care, with sound scholarship presented in a readable style. The book focuses on end-of-life care, language, international medical graduates, and specific cultural groups. In the conclusion, the editors also suggest topics worthy of future research. This book will be of interest to medical educators, medical sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, health professional educators, and health policy groups.

– Peri Ballantyne, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Trent University

I believe our book challenges and encourages, and provides insight into specific dimensions of the culture and medicine interface: end of life care, IMG issues, cultural competence and language, and ethnic diversity in health care. Much of this book has to do with communication. We know well the importance of good communication to good health-care outcomes and quality in health care. If this book helps to contribute to these outcomes, then that's great.

– Dr. Rod Crutcher, The Medical Post

Waugh (religious studies, U. of Alberta), Szafran (family medicine, U. of Alberta) and Crutcher (family medicine, U. of Calgary) introduce this collection of 13 essays as an interrogation into the limits of and responses by medicine practiced under the "biomedical model" in a multicultural society. Many essays look at aboriginal and folk understandings of health issues. The contributors, who include doctors, social scientists, a cultural geographer, a community planner, a religion scholars and native healer, focus on Canadian subjects and society, but at times go beyond Canada when exploring aboriginal experiences of biomedicine. Bracketed by an editorial introduction and conclusion, the book is divided into four sections with essays organized around cultural issues surrounding end of life care; cultural assimilation in medical training; cultural and linguistic competence in the delivery of care; and multicultural perspectives on the definition of health. In addition to tables of information, the work includes world-maps depicting distribution factors in the background of applicants for Alberta's International Medical Graduate Program.

– Reference and Research Book News

This important book fills a major gap in medical education. With the increasing diversity of medical schools' populations (undergraduate residency, staff, and faculty) culture and diversity in medicine is a critically important area to address. The authors cover the recent literature on relevant subjects, taking what are often complicated topics and presenting them in a reasonable, accessible, and readable manner. At the Interface of Culture and Medicine is directed to a wide audience: undergraduate medical students, staff, and faculty (both professional and clinical), as well as in the other health professions.

– Blye Frank, Dean of the Faculty of Education, UBC

The authors of this book do not ask for drastic changes, rather for recognition of the room within Canada's health care for improvement, especially in the treatment of minorities. The major theme, often repeated quite baldly...is a need for more cultural competence among our health care professionals.

– Marina Parapini, Pacific Rim Review of Books