Cultural Aspects of Health Behavior – HLTH 623

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course examines cultural perspectives on beliefs and health risk perception in relationship to health behavior. The cultural aspects of healthcare use through “healers” and health systems are also examined.




Culture plays a significant role in health care utilization. It determines the frequency and types of services accessed. It also contributes to health disparities by producing barriers to care. Healthcare workers must be sensitive to the belief systems and cultural practices of others regardless of the setting. When working internationally, however, workers are likely to find themselves in an unfamiliar cultural setting. This situation requires a much greater level of cultural competency to be able to successfully work around and within the cultural traditions of the host nation.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Reflect on personal cultural background and related biases.
  2. Discuss differences in various cultures as they pertain to health and health care.
  3. Assess the impact of culture on health disparities (both positive and negative).
  4. Describe methodologies for working in a cross-cultural setting to improve communication and health advocacy.
  5. Distinguish between cultural sensitivity and cultural competence.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words.

Reflection Paper

The student will write a 4–5-page assessment of his/her own culture. In the paper, the student will describe his/her familial cultural background. The paper must address similarities and differences between the student’s own culture and other major cultural groups studied in the course. Particular attention must be given to sources of bias toward people of other cultures. The student must also investigate ways to minimize the impact of his/her cultural biases when providing public health services to others.

Wikis (2)

The student will choose a term from the given list and provide a detailed description of the term using material from the texts and reliable research publications. After providing an original wiki, the student must seek out the wikis of other classmates and provide edits to raise the quality and reliability of the entry. The student will be evaluated on the quantity and quality of his/her contributions.

Cultural Anthropology Paper

The student will choose a priority population from a list of geographic cultural groups offered by the instructor. The student will research the chosen culture and identify culturally related health barriers and risks. The written paper must be 7–10 pages and include a minimum of 5 scholarly sources. All information must be properly cited using current AMA style. A ¾–1-page bulleted talking paper must be attached as an appendix to the document.

Cultural Solutions Project and Video Presentation

The student will design a workable solution to mitigate the health barriers or risks identified in their Cultural Anthropology Paper, using content and methods that would be culturally appropriate and acceptable to the priority population. It will be presented as a 12–15-slide PowerPoint presentation with presentation notes. Each notes section at the bottom of each slide must be 250–350 words. Create an original video presentation of this project. The video must be 10-15 minutes. This assignment will be a true test of the student’s ability to demonstrate competence on all course outcomes. The grade will be determined by a combination of the written and oral components.

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will cover the Reading & Study material for Modules/Weeks 1–4. The exam will: be open-book/open-notes; contain 32 multiple-choice and true/false, 2 matching, and 3 short-answer questions; and have a 2-hour time limit.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will cover the Reading & Study material for Modules/Weeks 5–8. The exam will: be open-book/open-notes; contain 27 multiple-choice and true/false, 3 matching, and 3 short-answer questions; and have a 2-hour time limit.