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Free Content Health-seeking patterns among Chinese immigrant patients enrolled in the directly observed therapy program in New York City

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SETTING: Outreach services and chest clinics of the Department of Health in New York City.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the health-seeking behavior patterns of Chinese immigrant patients enrolled in the directly observed therapy (DOT) program in New York City, and to suggest service provision strategies.

DESIGN: Data were collected by means of participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and patient narratives. These data were then analyzed statistically as well as qualitatively, based on grounded theory.

RESULTS: Of 60 patient informants, 38 had sought treatment for the relief of symptoms, and 22 were diagnosed by physical examination. Among 125 consultations made by 38 symptomatic patients during the period of their illness, there were more Chinatown physicians, including traditional Chinese practitioners, than other types of health providers, but they proportionally made the fewest referrals to the DOT program.

CONCLUSIONS: Chinatown physicians are the main health providers to whom Chinese immigrants with tuberculosis resort. Education and collaboration with Chinese doctors, practitioners of both biomedical and traditional Chinese medicine, in New York City's Chinatown, are essential to reduce enrolment delays in the DOT program. The free services of the DOT program should be made more widely known to the Chinese immigrant population.
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Keywords: New York City; health care seeking behavior; immigrants; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Social Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 01 November 2004

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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