A Healthier Wisconsin

Learning Event Support: Religion and Spirituality in Medicine: Does It Have a Place? - The Hmong Experience

Educating medical and pharmacy students about spiritual concerns in healthcare through an immersive workshop

Full Project Name:Learning Event Support: Religion and Spirituality in Medicine: Does It Have a Place? - The Hmong ExperiencePrincipal Investigator:Ashley M. Pavlic, MD, Emergency MedicineAward Amount:$5,000
Award Date

Project Description Narrative:

In healthcare, a patient’s spiritual or religious beliefs may influence or interfere with medical decisions, including suggested treatments or interventions. Learning how to approach care for patients from diverse faith backgrounds while emphasizing the importance of patient autonomy in making healthcare decisions is essential to all physicians’ interactions with diverse populations.

In Wisconsin, the Hmong comprise a large percentage of the state’s refugee population. Understanding Hmong cultural customs and practices significantly affect healthcare providers’ abilities to create positive patient care experiences and outcomes.

With AHW funding support, the event will educate Medical College of Wisconsin pre-clinical and pharmacy students on Hmong culture and traditions, including discussions with a Hmong shaman and facilitators. Participants will learn how Hmong spiritual beliefs may impact their medical treatment plan and healthcare decision-making, increasing their spiritual awareness and supporting diverse voices in Wisconsin communities.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Engaged three guest speakers to share about Hmong history and culture, health disparities experienced by Hmong populations due to cultural and language barriers, traditional Hmong beliefs including shamanism and animism, and the work done by the Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health to address health disparities in the city's Hmong community
  • Attendees engaged in small group case studies to apply what they learned about Hmong culture, animism, and shamanism to a patient case led by Hmong facilitators
  • All attendees who completed the post-session survey indicated interest in attending similar events in the future

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