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Huerta and Macario, Reaction Paper Example

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Reaction Paper

The main statement of Huerta and Macario’s  essay is that health disparities exist in the U.S. society because health risk messages do not address or reach diverse ethnic groups. While the authors are against stereotyping, they still attempt to determine the aspects of communication that can make health risk messages more effective and more understandable for diverse groups within the society.

The authors determine two main types of cultures; “collectivist” and “individualist”. One culture needs clear and well articulated verbal communication, while the other requires more non-verbal interaction. However, it is hard to determine how culture determines individual perception of health messages, and to what extent does personality and individual circumstances pay a role in one’s understanding and acceptance of the message. Further, the study takes into consideration one more important aspect; acculturation. Based on how long ago the family moved to the United States, there are different levels of acculturation assigned to the group. Still, it would not be a good idea to look at individual immigrant families and try to put them into categories based on culture and level of “Americanization”. It would result in a sort of stereotyping that the authors are trying to avoid. Individual circumstances, work, socialization and neighborhood can impact the level of acceptance, as well as potential stigmatization and marginalization.

Health messages, indeed, need to be tailored to cultural beliefs, but this does not mean that they need to be based on culture alone. They need to consider other important aspects of individual perceptions of health; such as constraints of seeking help, economic and social status. Only that way can health care professionals deliver preventive programs and messages effectively to diverse groups.

Works Cited

Huerta, E. and Macario, E.  “Communicating Health Risk to Ethnic Groups: Reaching    Hispanics as a Case Study”. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs No. 25, 1999. Print.

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