6 keys to practicing multicultural medicine

May 25, 2012
Hannah S. Chow, MD, FAAFP

Nowadays, many doctors' offices resemble cultural melting pots. With these suggestions, you, too, can enhance your practice in such a diverse setting.

Key Points

My next patient, Nora, talked excitedly about going on her first hajj-the pilgrimage to Mecca that is one of the basic requirements of Islam. Her mother didn't want her to get her period during this long journey, so we had a discussion about using contraceptives to minimize menses.


My parents emigrated from Taiwan to Illinois before I was born. Therefore, although I consider myself American, I have strong Asian influences. My parents made my siblings and me learn Taiwanese and Chinese, taught us about the culture, and took us on trips to Taiwan. I was introduced to reflexology when I wasn't allowed to take medicine for headaches or cramps. Instead of cough syrup for coughs, I took herbal medicine. I got nasal massages and washes for sinus pain and regular earlobe massages to build up my immunity and lengthen my life.