To learn more about medicine and health
Cultural Orientation Resource Center
Healing by Heart: Clinical and Ethical Case Stories of Hmong Families and Western Providers by Kathleen A. Culhane-Pera
Immigrant Medicine, ed. by Patricia Frye Walker & Elizabeth Day Barnett
Somali Bantu refugees in the United States often struggle to maintain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle. According to the "healthy migrant effect," when refugees arrive in the United States, they are in many ways actually healthier than U.S.-born residents. However, the length of time that a refugee spends in the United States is directly related to increases in chronic health problems. In addition, due to years of witnessing and experiencing horrendous violence, many Somali Bantu refugees suffer from mental health problems such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While some health care providers in the United States work hard to accommodate cultural differences, they are often unsuccessful, because most lack the proper training to work with refugees, knowledge about traditional Somali Bantu medicine, and the resources needed to implement creative and helpful solutions. Indeed, Western medicine alone has proven largely ineffective in helping Somali Bantus achieve emotional or physical wellbeing. Instead, when effectively and respectfully combined with Somali Bantu traditional medical techniques, health care providers have had much more success in helping Somali Bantus to live healthy and comfortable lives in the United States.