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Vital ConversationsImproving Communication Between Doctors and Patients$
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Dennis Rosen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164443

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164443.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 13 May 2021

When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide

(p.51) 3 When Worlds Collide
Vital Conversations

Dennis Rosen

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the importance of recognizing the differences in culture, belief systems, and disease conceptualization in establishing meaningful dialogue and constructing satisfactory relationship between physician and patient. People from different cultural backgrounds often have widely different ideas about what constitutes normal and abnormal in all that pertains to health and disease, and about how to remedy the conditions of a disease. For physicians to provide their patients with good care, it is important that there be agreement on what does and does not constitute disease. Recognizing the cultural variability of the supposedly objective basis of Western biomedicine can help physicians become more open-minded when dealing with patients who may be accustomed to different treatment approaches for a given condition, and who do not understand why what they are now being offered—or simply told to do—is different from what they are used to.

Keywords:   culture, belief systems, disease conceptualization, physician-patient relationship, cultural variability, Western biomedicine

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