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Xiwen's Midterm Project

Xiwen's picture

Hi all,

      My midterm project is on 'Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Incorporation of the Culture of Disability into Cultural Competence Education'. In my project, I intend to use a critical disability studies len to analyze 

the model of cultural competence with the culture of disability incorporated. Please see the powerpoint and feel free to comment if anything seems unclear to you. Have a wonderful springbreak!


Miriam's picture

I thought that your project was very impressive. You did a good job of really thinking about disability studies and what we have learned so far and applying it to this context. I also think that the format of your project, a PowerPoint presentation, really suggests a way that this project could be put into real use. When you spoke about your project in class it was very educational and I could definitely see a presentation of your project being done for a group of medical professionals to teach about this form of cultural competence. Based on anecdotes I have heard and some of the examples you provide, it is critical for health care professionals to develop a different attitude toward disability in order to respect disabled individuals and provide adequate care. I hope that work on this type of cultural competence continues to be developed.

marisa's picture


You truly brought your background of health studies to the forefront of this class with your midterm. I love that you challenged medicine's slow-moving attempt of improving standards of care for cross-cultural interactions with your project. I especially appreciate your initiative in tackling this problem by addressing the issue of the lack of representation of disability in cultural competency, and then taking on an activist approach by calling for the implementation of it directly into the medical school curriculum. Part of the reason I took this class was because I knew that I would not receive this kind of information or education in my health profession in the future. It would be unfair of medical schools to blame their students for not having knowledge of the culture of disability, so I think putting the responsibility in the medical school curricula is a great idea. 

I think I'm still unsure about what exactly a "folk illness" is and how they are potentially harmful. Could you maybe provide an example of a folk illness and remedy for me, and how this manifests in disability culture?

Other than that one point, I absolutely agree with your points on making language more accessible, advocating for the trust and belief in patients'/parents' knowledge of their disability, adjusting provider practices to reaffirm patients, and to broaden our cultural values on what we consider "normal." I feel like if we began to implement these practices into the medical school curricula, pretty soon no health professional could agree with the institutionalization of people with disabilities let alone work in one to keep the cycle going. 


Xiwen's picture

Hi Marisa,

    Sorry for this very late reply! My schedule this week and last week was really messy due to lots of travelings for grad school visit and conference. My apologies!

    In response to your question of 'folk medicine/folk treatment', one example of 'folk treatment' that I am familiar with is the use of acupuncture for treating deaf. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine where thin needles are inserted into the body and is a key part of the traditional Chinese medicine. Whether acupuncture is effective in improving hearing is a rather controversial topic. During the acupuncture treatment, there will be lots of pain associated (I remeber reading a book which has a narrative by a deaf girl who describes the enormous amount of pain she experiences during the acupuncture treatment). In addition, it might not work at the end. However, there are also studies that have shown that acupuncture is a much more effective treatment in nerve-related hearing lost as compared to conventional western medication   ( Under the context of cultural competency, health care providers should be aware of this alternative treatment and should inform the patients of the potential advantages or harms associated with the 'folk treatment'. 

       Hope this answer your question!