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Popular Cultural Practices & Beliefs: Home Remedies & Rituals. By Milagros Batista, MSW Co-founder, Alianza Dominicana, Inc. Community Liaison, Dyson Initiative. This is part of a curriculum on cultural competency and community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

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Popular cultural practices beliefs home remedies rituals l.jpg

Popular Cultural Practices & Beliefs: Home Remedies & Rituals

By Milagros Batista, MSW

Co-founder, Alianza Dominicana, Inc.

Community Liaison, Dyson Initiative


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  • This is part of a curriculum on cultural competency and community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • The curriculum is following IOM recommendations which suggest that in order to provide culturally effective care we need to be knowledgeable, understanding, and have an appreciation of the patient’s culture.

  • You need to take into account their beliefs, values, actions, customs, and unique health care needs of distinct population groups.


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What is Cultural Competency? community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • The AAP definition for cultural competency is:

    “set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or amongst professionals and enables that system, agency or professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.”


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Cultural Competency Synonyms community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • Culturally effective

  • Culturally sensitive

  • Cross-cultural

  • Multicultural


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Does this make you culturally competent? community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • To be culturally competent we need to be cognitive of:

    • Provider culture

    • Biomedical culture

    • Patient culture

    • Negotiation


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Provider Culture Awareness community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • What we bring to our interaction with people from other cultures is:

    • An awareness of who we are (e.g. gender, social class, etc.)

    • Our family values (e.g. upbringing, religious beliefs, treatment beliefs, behavior, etc.)


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Biomedical Culture Awareness community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • Physicians are trained to take only the bio-physical ailments into account

  • Disregard for psycho-social issues

  • Medical knowledge gives them the final say


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Patient Culture Awareness community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • Core Cultural Issues (e.g. resources available, immigration issues, etc.)

  • Perceptions of Disease and Illness

  • Perceptions of Healing and Curing

  • Perceptions of Doctors


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Negotiation community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • Your own check and balance

  • Communication and interaction in the encounter is effective and sensitive

  • It is a win-win situation


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Goals: community at Columbia University, Community Pediatrics department.

  • Communication skills building

  • Better treatment or services provided

  • Health promotion and education

  • Developing family-centered care

  • Integrating other sources of care: traditional healers, community health workers

  • Reduce disparaties by decreasing error and improving health care.


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Objective in the community into the medical community.

  • To increase the knowledge of Dominican cultural practices and beliefs as they relate to health


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Why is it important for medical health professionals to know about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?


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  • Who are Dominicans? about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Where do they come from?

  • Brief history of the Caribbean

  • Ethnicity: Spanish/European, African, Indigenous influences


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The Beliefs about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Health as an integrated vision

  • The unity of physical, mental and spiritual health


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The Practices: Home Remedies about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Physical health

    • Agua de Rosa

    • Aloe Vera

    • Anise

    • Bronquina

    • Chamomille (Manzanilla)

    • Cordial de Monell

    • Higuereta (tree olive)

    • Honey

    • Lemon with salt


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The Practices: Home Remedies about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Physical health (continued)

    • Linden tree flowers (Tilo)

    • Miel de Rosa (rose honey)

    • Rabano Yodado / Rabano con Berro (Watercrest)

    • Sancochito

    • Scott’s emulsion

    • Sebo de flan (lamb’s wool oil)

    • Siete Jarabes

    • Tussibron


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The Practices: Home Remedies about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Mental health

    • Consultas

    • Fiestas

    • Reuniones Familiares

    • Relaciones Humanas


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The Practices: Home Remedies about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Spiritual

    • Altars

    • Hora Santa

    • Incense

    • Baths

    • Despojos (cleansing)

    • Clear water

    • Reguardos (mal de Ojo – evil eye)

    • Cintas en colores (Mujeres Embarazadas)


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Cancion: El Yerbero Moderno about the popular practices and beliefs of their patient population?

  • Popular song by Celia Cruz and la Sonora Mantancera (1948)


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