Winter 2015 – Care for Laotian Ethnic Minorities: A Cross-National Study of Medical Students in Laos and California

Care for Laotian Ethnic Minorities: A Cross-National Study of Medical Students in Laos and California

Author: Katherine Crabtree1,Oanh L. Meyer2, Tonya L. Fancher3

Author Affiliations:

1UC Davis College of Medicine, Sacramento, CA, USA

2UC Davis School of Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Department of Neurology, Sacramento, CA, USA

3UC Davis School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Sacramento, CA, USA

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Corresponding Author: Katherine Crabtree, katcrabtree[at]

Key Words: Hmong; Mien; Laos, refugees; cross-cultural healthcare; medical education.

Abstract: Background: In both the United States and Laos, Lao ethnic minority patients face cultural and linguistic challenges to adequate medical care. We may be able to learn from Lao experiences to improve care for patients in the United States. This study explored Laotian and American medical students’ experiences in care for these patients. Methods: Laotian and American medical students (n_19) participated in five interview groups discussing barriers to health care and strategies for addressing barriers for Laotian ethnic minority patients. Results: The students identified similar barriers to care. Laotian students identified unique strategies to address barriers to care. American students focused on general approaches to cross-cultural care. Discussion: The strategies that Laotian medical students learn in their training reflect their extensive exposure to Hmong and other Laotian ethnic minority patients, while American students learn broad strategies to care for many minority groups. Further work is needed to determine if their experience can be translated into the domestic context.

Published on date: January 1, 2015

Senior Editor: Ghadear Shukr

Junior Editor: Nadine Talia

DOI: Pending

Citation: Crabtree K, Fancher TL, Meyer TL. Care for Laotian Ethnic Minorities: A Cross-National Study of Medical Students in Laos and California. Medical Student Research Journal. 2015;4(Winter):66-70.


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