Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Nutrition ... page 1

Purnell's Model

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Family roles & organization
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Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

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Death rituals

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Health care practices
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Health care practitioners




  • Food is very important to Haitians for many reasons. Because of  economic constraints, malnutrition is very common in Haiti.26, 31, 42, 48, 50  Food can be used as a loan or as good will for those who are in need. The loan is made with the understanding that when the benefactor is in need, the favor will be returned.4

  • Haitians generally eat their largest meal in the middle of the day with bread and coffee at breakfast and soup or hot cereal in the evening.29, 30

  • Traditionally men are given the largest portion of meat or protein because they need the energy in order to provide for the family.31, 32 

  • Haitian cuisine has both French and African influences, and also uses spices commonly found in the Caribbean.4  (See common cultural food preferences). One common dish, griot, is fried pork cubes that have been marinated in sour orange juice and garlic.4 Haitians will not eat cottage cheese, yogurt or runny egg yolk. Rolls and whole French bread are preferable to sliced bread. 29

  • Food is often used to establish reciprocal relationships and networks with new immigrants or new friends.4

  • New Years day is a common celebration where pumpkin soup is made from a type of squash found in Haiti. The soup is offered to guests who drop in to start out the New Year.4










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