Who lives rural today

Rural counties, especially those located adjacent to metropolitan areas have seen population growth. Challenges arrive along with these new Americans: How do two or three different cultures live together? How does a small clinic with limited resources accommodate different languages and different understandings about health and healing? The diabetic diet looks different from a Mexican diet where beans and rice are staples and different from the farmer of German ancestry who wants his meat and potatoes. Some workers arrive without family, leaving their wives and children back home for the season or several years. Problems such as alcohol abuse, sex trafficking, and violence often accompany this disconnected lifestyle.

 (Excerpted and used with the permission of the authors, published in The Country Doctor Revisited, KSU, 2010)

 The global age with its increasingly diverse communities is now true in many small communities across the US. In Minnesota many communities settled by Scandinavians or Germans now integrate communities who speak such languages as Spanish, Hmong or Somali. Integrating immigrants into a new community takes some planning. Local leaders need to reach out to leaders in the new communities.  Health care settings need to adapt with interpreters, patient education that is appropriate for the cultural values and eventually staff who are from the immigrant community. Health care professionals need education about the beliefs and values of the immigrant community.

 If the community where you are rotating serves diverse ethnic groups, how well has the hospital /clinic reached out and prepared for the different communities? Do not mention the name of your community in your response. Consider the availability of interpreters, patient education materials, diverse staff and the relationships between the hospital/clinic and the community.


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