Arizona Hospital Offers Culturally Tailored Care, Services to Navajo Indian Patients
USA Today on Monday examined how "traditional Navajo healing is merging with modern medicine" at the Page, Ariz.-based Banner Page Hospital. About 50% of the patients at the hospital come from a nearby Navajo reservation. "Hospitals have long struggled with providing health care" to American Indians who "often don't trust modern medicine and techniques," USA Today reports. Lisa Martin, head of the hospital's Native American Cultural Committee, said that mistrust often is exacerbated by health care providers' lack of understanding of the American Indian culture.
The 25-bed hospital formed the committee in 2002 to work "toward an inclusive medical community by tackling the cultural sensitivities of the Navajo people, many of whom are wary of modern medicine," according to USA Today. Many of the hospital's efforts go toward raising awareness of Navajo culture among its nursing staff. The facility also has incorporated some American Indian traditions into the structure of the hospital, such as making sure the newly renovated emergency department entrance faces the east, where the Navajo believe life originates. The hospital also provides a traditional Navajo "dwelling place" to conduct ceremonies and incorporate the work of medicine men. Food services at the hospital also include some traditional Navajo meals.
Banner Page CEO Sandy Haryasz said, "Many of our patients have told us they're very pleased with how we honor their cultural diversity and how we respect and provide what they need to have a healing experience" (Haupt, USA Today, 8/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.