Opening cultural doors: providing culturally sensitive healthcare to Arab American and American Muslim patients

Maya M Hammoud, Casey B White, Michael D Fetters
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2005, 193 (4): 1307-11
Differences in the social and religious cultures of Arab Americans and American Muslims raise challenges to healthcare access and delivery. These challenges go far beyond language to encompass entire world views, concepts of health, illness, and recovery and even death. Medical professionals need a more informed understanding and consideration of the rich and diverse array of beliefs, expectations, preferences, and behavioral make up of the social cultures of these patients to ensure that they are providing the best and most comprehensive care possible. Improved understanding will enhance a provider's ability to offer quality healthcare and to build trusting relationships with patients. Here, we provide a broad overview of Arab culture and Islamic religious beliefs that will assist providers in delivering culturally sensitive healthcare to these groups. We offer insight into the behaviors, requirements, and preferences of Arab American and American Muslim patients, especially as they apply to women's health.

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