Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


High-Risk Health Behaviors

Purnell's Model

  Page 2
  Page 3
  Page 4
  Page 5

  Page 2

Family roles & organization
  Page 2
  Page 3

Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

  Page 2


Death rituals

  Page 2
  Page 3

Health care practices
  Page 2
  Page 3

Health care practitioners




  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are  a common health problem in Haiti. The rates can be attributed to the acceptance of the polygamous lifestyles of men. Also, due to their health belief system, many Haitians do not associate STDs with sexual intercourse.15, 42 Haitian men are generally not willing to use contraceptives.42  In addition, STDs are more difficult to eliminate in this population because it is common to stop taking antibiotics once symptoms subside.15, 42

  • Many Haitian immigrants don't see the importance of exercise or feel they don't have the time.51 For Haitians in the U.S., having the time to go to the gym is viewed as a luxury.52

  • One study that analyzed cardiovascular risk factors in Afro-Caribbean individuals in the U. S., found that 26% of their sample smoked, and 67% of their sample was overweight.53 These results could be interpreted as a change in lifestyle as Haitians assimilate to U.S. culture.
  • In traditional Haitian culture, being fat means being healthy, whereas being thin indicates poor health.30, 31, 32 

  • Traditionally, Haitians tend to seek care from a biomedical practitioner only when all other options are exhausted.42, 51, 54 Illness is associated with not being able to work. For a further description of health care seeking see section on Health Care Practices.

Copyright  2003