Aim – To create awareness, understanding and elimination of Maine ethnic minority health disparities.
Over the past few years, there has been an influx of new ethnic communities in Maine. As these communities are coming to Maine as immigrants, they are bringing with them their own unique cultural heritage. Some of these groups bring with them traditions and practices which do not integrate well with our current health care system. In an effort to better understand the unique end-of-life traditions of these communities, the Maine Hospice Council, in partnership with the Minority Health Program of the City of Portland, held meetings with representatives from the Somali, Sudanese, and Hispanic communities to discuss the following questions:
- What gives strength and meaning to your life and your community?
- What does death mean to you and your community?
- Where do you get services for end-of-life care?
- What barriers do you encounter when accessing end-of-life care services?
- What are some of your community priorities in regard to end-of-life care?
- How can our health care system be more responsive to your community?
Additional questions about specific practices were also discussed. In 2006, representatives from several ethnic communities were brought for “Bridging the Cultural Gap.” Representatives from Maine’s health care system were invited to attend to hear answers to three basic questions:
- Tell us of experiences or barriers you, or your community, are facing in accessing health care services.
- Share with us what “End-of-life” means in your culture.
- Talk of 1 or 2 very important things or solutions that you wish the policy makers or the health care system could do to help your community manage end-of-life in a more culturally appropriate way.
Meetings with other ethnic communities will be held in the near future. When all the meetings have been held, a final report on findings and recommendations will be published.
- End-of-Life Care: The Latino Culture
- End-of-Life Care: The Vietnamese Culture
- End-of-Life Care: The Russian Culture
- Communicating with your African American Patient
- Communicating with your Latino Patient
- Communicating with your Russian Patient
- Communicating with your Somali Patient
- Communicating with your Vietnamese Patient
- Maine’s Top Non-English Languages