Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Overview Continued ... page 5

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




Educational Status

  • Education is very limited in Haiti. There is an educational system and in theory, it is free of cost; however, there are significant supplemental costs to attend making attendance difficult for the poor and rural dwellers.21, 24  It is not uncommon for women to go without food to send their children to school.24 

  • Haitians attach a great value to education.28, 34 
  • French was traditionally the language of instruction in Haiti, but the majority of Haitians do not speak French at home (see communication). In the late 1970s this changed, and now Creole is used as the language of instruction in the first four grades.15, 21, 34  

  • Because of the above barriers, the literacy rate in Haiti in 2001 was estimated at 48.6%.16

  • Haitian learning is based in the rote style with less emphasis on individual thinking.15, 21, 34

  • Grading in Haiti is very strict, leading to a high emphasis on grades. The relationship between student and teacher is very formal. Parents are not asked to participate in the child's learning at all.21  

  • In the U.S., some Haitian parents may choose to send their children to Catholic school, because of the emphasis on discipline and perceived success as well as their belief that it a mark of social status.34

  • Many Haitians in the U. S.  seek to quickly complete their high school education and will get their high school equivalency before they would normally graduate from high school.15

  • For Haitians both in Haiti and in the U. S., a college degree is valued and a sign of status.15


    Overview, inhabited localities and topography:


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