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The Human Mosaic: Cultural Beliefs and Health Professions Training

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Developing culturally competent healthcare service must incorporate the needs of ethnic elders as well as the types of services provided. The question arises as to how to define optimal ways of teaching cultural diversity to the future healthcare professionals who will be treating older adults of indigenous heritage. Basing its work on an ethnogeriatric approach developed by the Stanford Geriatric Education Center, the Alaska Geriatric Education Center adapted the tool and utilized it with indigenous populations within Alaska. The reformatted approach examined and charted historical events (by cohort analysis) that have influenced Alaska's Native Elder's healthcare belief system over generations. Historical profiles produced from this approach may be used in studying and treating seniors from diverse ethnic backgrounds and provide an educational tool in training gerontology or geriatric healthcare professionals. The approach may also be used for organizing individuals' perceptions of the historical events in their lives within clinical health and mental health settings.

Keywords: cohort analysis; ethnogeriatrics; health beliefs; historical trauma; training

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1396.029

Affiliations: Alaska Geriatric Education Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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