Values and Beliefs
While comparing the context of South Korea and Puerto Rico, one shall first be aware of the significant cultural and geographical differences. Located in different parts of this word, not only these countries operate with different religions which then form their complex beliefs, but they are both placed in two different sociocultural dimensions.
The values cherished in Korea mostly derive from the 20th century, before the peninsula was split into the North and South Korea. In Korea, traditional forms of artwork are highly valued. These are traditional dancing, painting, crafts and ceramics. While referring these cultural dimensions to the healthcare context, there were certain distinct features. For instance, tea and ceramics from the traditional crafts was often used for medical purposes. Traditional forms of medicine that derived in Korea also have a significant cultural importance. Herbal and acupuncture are the two most common forms of the medical treatment in Korea.
The set of values and beliefs in Puerto Rico significantly differs from that of Korea. The culture of Puerto Rico is very complex, and can often be described as the colorful culture. In particular, people who live in Puerto Rico represent a cultural and a racial mix. Therefore, comparing to Korea, the concept of ‘traditional medicine’ was not so popular here. Moreover, the majority of the population in Puerto Rico is Catholic, whilst in South Korea almost 60% of the population do not belong to any religious organizations. Hence, such a cultural difference has a clear implication on religion and the perception of healthcare in both countries. The medical treatment is more similar to the model in Western Europe. Those who wish to become doctors can study in regular medical schools and obtain professional expertise. In general, medicine in Puerto Rico and treatment practices were first brought by Europeans, and that’s why the medical treatment resembles Western European approaches until these days.
Unlike South Korea, the ethnocultural attributes in Puerto Rico largely derive from the postcolonial practices. Very little has remained until these days from the traditional tribes that stayed in the country centuries ago, whilst the majority of influences on social and cultural aspects come from the times of imperial rule in the country. The population of Puerto Rico is very contrasting, as the immigrants from France, Germany and Lebanon first came to the country and then Chinese and African slaves were imported to maintain different labor tasks in the country. Therefore, the array of ethnocultural attributes differs significantly as Puerto Rico may be called as the melting pot of nations, similarly to the United States. Such ethnocultural attributes paved the ground in the country for the Western European approaches in medicine with little influence of the traditional elements.
On the contrary, South Korea is more homogeneous, traditional and unique in its social ways. Shamanism practices were quite popular in Korea throughout centuries and left a significant imprint on diverse matters until these days. Another ethnocultural attribution that had an effect on the healthcare and medicine in the country was the impact of Confucianism. In particular, it led to the growing popularity of the traditional medicine in the country. Despite the existence of the secular and advanced and innovative healthcare treatment practices, South Korea still has a very strong remnant of the traditional medicine. For instance, herbalism and treating patients with different drinks comprising of various types of herbs remains a strong aspect of the traditional medicine that transformed into Korean culture of these days. Another distinctive practice that does not exist in Puerto Rico is treatment by moxibustion. This is a technique of applying a large amount of heating to the body with stick. It may even burn the skin before a patient reaches healing. Such practice is applying for treating cancer, hypertension and other forms of tough diseases.
While reviewing the global determinants influencing healthcare in both countries, it is worth mentioning that both countries are approaching in adapting to innovating approaches in healing. The existing medical treatment institutions, allowing students to learn and research various medical practices, drive these aspects. In Puerto Rico, there are over ten medical schools that are highly reputable. In Korea, Gradual School of Korean Medicine serves a solid institutional basis for observing traditional practices of treatment and to explore the potential of innovating treatment, too.
Overall, both countries have a decent level of healthcare delivery, as the medical care in both countries is free of charge and the population can easily access the necessary services. However, institutionally Korea is more advanced, and the healthcare delivery is more centered around an individual. Therefore this drives the healthcare delivery in a more advanced direction comparing ot Puerto Rico.
High Risk Behaviors, Nutrition Habits and Bicultural Ecology
Comparing to Puerto Rico, Korea has a higher risk of medical treatment, especially when it comes to curing tough diseases through traditional medicine which is not scientifically proven to be effective. At the same time, the nutrition habits in Puerto Rico are less healthier than in Korea, as the population in Korea consumes much larger amounts of rise.
How has this course helped you to understand cultural diversity and the role of the health care worker in caring for these selected groups?
Overall, the course significantly contributed to the understanding of cultural dimension in the healthcare provision in different parts of the world.