fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

Close this search box.

fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

Close this search box.
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. cross-cultural health care

Tag: cross-cultural health care

A Daughter of Vietnamese Refugees

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

I am a daughter of Vietnamese refugees.

I wear my identity so proudly that I often reflexively lead with this when, as a medical student, I’m introduced to colleagues, professors and supervisors. It is my response when asked, “How will you contribute to diversity?”

I feel honored to be different. In fact, when I meet patients who have never encountered

Read More »


“It’s not like what they taught you.”

It is the winter of 2013. I am a second-year family-medicine resident, with big ideas and small experience. Brian is a staff physician, maybe three or four years into practice—years that might as well be decades. The two of us huddle in one corner of the little airport departure lounge in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Read More »

El Jugo Me Hizo Daño

February 2010:

I toss and turn in bed, trying to fall back asleep; I have only a small cushion of time between getting up and heading to the hospital. I’m a third-year medical student doing my medicine subinternship. I have the choice of going to work or staying in bed a little longer.

On the other side of town, Ms. Garcia doesn’t have much choice about heading to the hospital: She’s bleeding from her nose

Read More »
Mommy Chuy

Mommy Chuy

Mrs. Hernandez is a ninety-two-year-old Spanish-speaking woman, originally from Mexico, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, who arrived in the emergency department of the hospital where I’m a fourth-year medical student.

Her right arm and leg were weak, the right side of her face drooped; her speech was slurred, and she seemed confused. Her CT scans showed that a blood clot had blocked her middle cerebral artery, in the area of the brain

Read More »
Birth of a Midwife

Birth of a Midwife

As a nurse, I was brand new to labor and delivery–and I was on my third night shift in a row. Walking back from a quick break, I was called over by the charge nurse.
“You have the next admit from triage,” she told me. “She’s a live one–and so is her family. They’re carnies.”
“What’s that?” I asked, bewildered.
“You know, the people who do the circus and carnival circuit–gypsies,” she said, innocently using

Read More »


Daniel Lee ~

1. Bipolar disorder
2. History of postpartum psychosis
3. No custody of her children
4. In treatment for cocaine abuse
5. Regular smoker

I digest each of these facts on the computer screen in rapid succession, progressively cementing the picture of Renee Pryce, a twenty-eight-year-old woman in her final months of pregnancy.

I’m a first-year resident in a large urban county hospital.

Read More »

A Stranger Comes to Town

Syed M. Ahmed ~

Twenty-five years ago, having completed my family-medicine residency, I left Houston to start a two-year stint practicing in a remote village of fewer than 2,000 souls in the Appalachian Mountains of Ohio.

The day I arrived at my new workplace (a two-person practice in the only clinic for fifty miles), my new colleague Dr. Jones told me that she was leaving the next day on a two-week vacation.

Read More »

Native Ways

Jan Jahner ~

They came up from the center of the earth, The People
where sky speaks to corn,
speaks to cottonwoods, to runoff in the wash.
Living beneath black-slashed canyon walls
home to sheep and weavers.
He is one of them, my patient
one of the ancients; leathery face carved and quiet
she is his daughter, fingers on the covers,
ready should he wake.

Read More »

Our Town (Chinese Spoken)

By the time Mrs. Zhang came to see me, her headache, left-sided weakness and facial numbness were two weeks old. Like many Chinese immigrants in this country, she’d hesitated to seek medical care because of language and cultural barriers and her apprehensiveness about Western medicine. In fact, she hadn’t seen a physician in the ten years since she and her husband had come to America. Only after a friend told her about me, the sole

Read More »
Scroll to Top