Meeting the Healthcare Needs of American Muslims
The Islamic values and cultural practices of American Muslims can play a role in community health disparities by influencing health behaviors and healthcare-seeking patterns and presenting challenges within the healthcare system. To date, scant empirical research has been conducted in collaboration with this community in order to better understand their beliefs and perceived challenges. This report is based on the analysis of qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and focus groups collected through a community-based participatory project with American Muslims living in southeastern Michigan. Specifically, our aim was to (1) identify key health beliefs and practices within the community, (2) gain a better understanding of these beliefs and practices and how they may impact the seeking of healthcare services, and (3) identify clinical situations that pose cultural challenges within healthcare. This report provides an overview of American Muslim health beliefs, describes how these beliefs impact healthcare-seeking practices, and recommends accommodations that can improve the healthcare experience of American Muslim patients. Understanding the links between Islamic beliefs and practices and their influence on clinical encounters provides opportunities to improve community health and deliver culturally sensitive high quality care.