Tag Archives: culture

Considering new angles during an infectious disease outbreak

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Global Panorama via Flickr

In May, the measles outbreak became the worst in 30 years, as communities across the country continue to battle the pathogen, which has sickened 1,077 people as of June 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the country, with more than 500 cases, in part because Brooklyn, a borough in New York City, and Rockland County, are homes of large and close-knit Orthodox Jewish communities. Many parents in these communities have decided not to vaccinate their children because of concerns about the health implications of vaccines. Continue reading

Diverse elders and caregivers need culturally relevant support

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Despite the growing numbers of elders from different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations, many of these older individuals are still marginalized when it comes to finding or accessing services and supports. That’s also true for those family members who care for them, according to a panel of experts at the recent Aging in America conference in New Orleans. Continue reading

Refugees face special challenges in maintaining oral health

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: John M via Flickr

Among the many needs of refugees newly-arrived in the United States, dental care can be a particularly difficult and pressing one to obtain.

Fleeing lives of repression and trauma, some refugees have never had access to routine oral care. Continue reading

Can culture change in nursing homes make a difference?

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Ann via Flickr

It seems to make sense intuitively that creating a smaller, more home-like atmosphere would foster improvements in nursing home residents’ psychosocial outlook.

But, there’s been little hard data to support the time and effort needed to implement culture change in institutional care. Most efforts have come from qualitative research. However, qualitative results from a 2017 study confirm that widespread adoption of a person-centered care approach makes a difference. Continue reading

Cultural perceptions of aging affect health status, caregiving

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Images by Judy Baxter, NCVO and Steven Gray via Flickr.

Images by Judy Baxter, NCVO and Steven Gray via Flickr.

A new study out of the United Kingdom reinforces the influence that culture and societal attitudes can have on the health status of older adults. Psychologists from the University of Kent used data from the European Social Survey to ask respondents, all age 70 or older, to self-rate their health.

In countries where old age is thought of as signifying low status, participants who identified themselves as ‘old’ felt worse about their own health. The opposite was true in places where older people have a perception of higher social status. The researchers concluded that elevating perceived social status of older people would reduce negative connotations associated with old age and the negative impact on how healthy people felt.

The value different societies place on the elderly has a lot to with how they are cared for later in life, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond explained in a recent TED talk. These effects in turn, influence public policy for global long-term services and supports. The International Federation of Social Workers recently noted, “Although older adults serve as essential resources to their communities, they face a great risk of marginalization.” Continue reading