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Eskimos, American Indians and the Orthodox Jewish Community

To my knowledge I have never had the good fortune to meet and to know a full blooded American Indian or Alaska Native. Nonetheless there is a commonality that we all share and can readily attest to. One that connects us. We have a set of beliefs and practices that differs from the Anglo-Saxon society we live in.

Over the last 25 years our government has identified and addressed cultural competence as a fundamental element to quality service delivery.  Culture defines how information presented by a provider is received and acted upon. It directly impacts on the outcome of intervention regimens being recommended.  Focus has been on American Indians and Alaskan Natives, as well as African-Americans, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders. This is to be lauded. The emphasis has spurred national coalition building, new scientific research, changes in the curriculum of professional training, as well as refinements in the design of social and health care programs.

In highlighting the need, the federal government observes that “ in Census 2000, more than 87,000 people inNew York Cityreported being American Indian or Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more other races. Los Angeles had the second largest number, with 53,092,” a combined total of 140,000. During that same period 331,000 Jews inNew York City identified themselves as Orthodox and Los Angeles had 61,000, a combined total of 392,000.

John Ruffin, PhD, Director, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, stated recently that American Indian, Alaskan natives, African-Americans, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders are broad categories. “We are still a nation of immigrants, and each immigrant population has unique health concerns, as do many other communities. Effective translation of scientific knowledge to all of these specific populations and communities will require an intimate understanding of their unique cultures and attitudes.”

The Orthodox Jewish community needs to be counted. Kol HaKavod News is dedicated to serve as a forum for raising public awareness to this issue, identifying leadership, and disseminating relevant scientific research.

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