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Religious beliefs shape health care attitudes among US Muslims
Date:8/11/2011

The perceived role of God in illness and recovery is a primary influence upon the health care beliefs and behaviors of American Muslims, a first-of-its-kind study has discovered. Outreach and education efforts by the health care community can help address Muslim concerns and improve health care quality in this rapidly growing population, the report recommends.

The traditional Ramadan fasting occurring this month is but one of many facets of the Islamic faith that might influence a patient's health behaviors. But few studies have comprehensively examined how religious beliefs and cultural attitudes across the different sub-communities within the American Muslim community shape a Muslim patient's experience.

"The idea was to talk about the health care values of American Muslim patients and the challenges they face inside the health care system," said Aasim Padela, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago. "The findings can guide us as we move forward on accommodating these patients and others."

For the report, "Meeting the Healthcare Needs of American Muslims," researchers interviewed people who share Islamic faith from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to gauge how their faith influences behaviors and the cultural obstacles they face within the health care environment.

Muslims are one of the fastest-growing minorities in the United States, with an estimated 7 million Americans identifying as Muslim and more than 2,000 active mosques in the country according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslims also are the most diverse religious group in the United States, with contingents of Arab origin, of South Asian (predominantly Indian and Pakistani) origin, and African-Americans.

To assess the common health care values of this diverse religious community, Padela and colleagues conducted several focus groups in southeastern Michigan
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Contact: Robert Mitchum
robert.mitchum@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5227
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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