Heritage Assessment


Heritage Assessment

Every person has a cultural heritage that defines him or her. Due to this, every culture views the world in different angle. This means that culture is therefore inherited and includes beliefs, customs, knowledge, likes and dislikes. Heritage assessment tool is an important tool that healthcare providers adopt in evaluation of someone heritage, traditional health methods to maintain promote and restore health. This paper focuses on the usefulness of the heritage assessment tool in evaluation of the needs of individuals as well as comparison of traditions of people from various cultures.

Heritage assessment tools have many uses. One of the ways the tool is used is helping health providers in understanding the background of a client. The health providers is able to identify the best methods of maintain, promoting and even restoring health by analyzing different concepts in dealing with the clients mental, physical and spiritual beliefs. It is also useful in assessing the cultural competencies of individuals helping to identify their holistic approach. Because people have different cultures, values and beliefs, using this tool can help to provide some connection and linkage of people that share similar cultural backgrounds. The heritage assessment tool is another very vital when it comes to opening an avenue for effective communication between the patient and the healthcare provider. Through this assessment, it allows the healthcare provider, to interrogate and find out more information from the patient about his/her beliefs, values regarding to the health, sickness, family supports as well as the spiritual values. The   assessment tool is also useful in collecting information about people from different cultures, and nationalities and in building cultural competencies among the health care providers.

For instance, using this heritage assessment tool I have learned a lot about myself.  The tool has allowed me to identify my values and my spiritual beliefs among others. For instance, I traced my root to Mexico City.  I was born in Mexico but migrated to the United States when I was 10 years with my mother.  I also learned that English was my second language. I have two sisters and brothers who live in Mexico but we are not in touch.  I am a Catholic and wish to marry a woman from this religious faith. Because of moving to USA at a tender age, I detached from the Mexican tradition, hence I cannot speak and read my native language fluently and even participate in their cultural activities.  Therefore, the tool has allowed me to trace my cultural heritage and even to understand better the ideologies or things that I believe in. It is a very simply tool and easy to use too.

In the quest to understand the various differences in culture, interviews were conducted with individuals from American, Hispanic and Mexican heritage-my family member.  From this interview, it emerged that indeed people have different beliefs and values and this affects the way they view the healthcare.  One of the family members- John interviewed was aged 50 years and came from Mexico. He was married to one wife and had three children. He values the cultural traditions and speaks native language.  He is an average Christian and therefore, he does not pray frequently. Andrew was the second person I interviewed. He comes from American heritage. He is aged 45 years and has a family with four children. He is always in touch with his family members. He is a non-believer and therefore, does not believe in Christianity. The third person interviewed also a Hispanic was Mattel.  Mattel is a young person aged 30 years and is married to one wife and has a child. He lives in the city but is more traditionalists. He embraces the Hispanic traditionalist and values.

Despite their differences, they all seek for medical services when they feel unwell. It is therefore, evident that, health is very essential to all human beings despite the fact that we have differences in the cultural heritage.  It is also important to note that even though health and wellness is practiced in all traditions; it varies from one personal cultural to another. The way people perceive and seek medical health is not similar and this is explained by their differences. Even, though people come from different cultures, it is the traditional cultural knowledge that they have enabled them to be aware of the three aspects of health; maintenance, promotion and restoration (Scriven, 2010).  These aspects aim at ensuring that people live healthy lifestyles free from any illness or diseases. The people health practices and beliefs is derived from these traditional knowledge and as well differ among the cultures. Health is perceived to be a true balance within the spirit, body and mind, family, community and the natural forces of the world. This means that, it is on of the aspects that contribute in defining the beliefs of an individual.

Individuals that have different ethno cultural heritages define health and illness in a holistic approach and as well have different health practices and health beliefs from one another. Therefore, as a medical practitioner or health provider in a traditional setting, health maintenance, promotion and restoration requires understanding of the cultural heritage and health related resources of that individual to be in a position to provide better medical services. In promoting health, people are empowered and taught how to increase control and to improve their health (Scriven, 2010). This initiative includes social, personal and environmental interventions. Because of different socialization and environments, people approach or view health differently.  For instance,   John, a Mexican and a believer has taken initiatives of ensuring that he seeks medical attention whenever he feels sick. He has gone to various kinds of screening just to find out how he feels. He is therefore, aimed at maintaining his health. The heritage assessment tool can help to identify an individual that is able to take good care of himself or not.  One of the clue is that he is enlightened and a catholic faithful. This then gives you the perceptions that he is not a conservative person.   Likewise, Andrew is someone that is enlightened and he is able to have a positive attitude about certain health practices such as screenings and taking other initiatives just to maintain his health.

The initiatives or the attitude of different people also varies in terms of how they promote and restore their health.  Health promotion is basically ensuring that you take good control of oneself. While health restoration is achieved by finding amicable solutions to various health complications to normal lifestyle, using heritage assessment tool is helpful in identifying how different people commit themselves to better health to protect and restore their health. Some societies such as Mexican take it upon themselves to promote health. They are supportive in ensuring that people health is enhanced. The family provides financial and moral support when one of their family members is diagnosed. Likewise, Hispanic cultures are also supportive. However, American culture is more individualistic and an individual takes his or her own initiative to seek and to cater for the medical costs. Therefore, people that come from these three cultural backgrounds will have different ideologies and opinions when it comes to their health practices because of their different ideologies.  It is important that they all are in need of health services but their perspectives do vary. It therefore becomes prudent for health providers to be receptive to these differences to be able to understand the patient well to be able to provide appropriate health services required.

The common health traditions used in my cultural heritage include; giving a lot of emphasis on the health of every person. The people of Mexico are united and this unity begins at family level. Therefore, it is upon the family and the community at large to support and ensure that they maintain, promote and restore health. There is unity and cooperation when it comes to supporting people diagnosed with various ailments. This has actually helped to promote health in the society. The fact that most of them are believers has contributed to greater heights in enhancing health. As discussed above, it is evident that different families subscribe to these traditional and practices in different way. For instance, Mexicans are more supportive as well as Hispanic while American people are not that supportive when dealing with issues of health. These differences are replicated in different cultures across the world.

In conclusion, cultures differ from one to another.  These differences are identified by the heritage cultural tool which races their backgrounds. These differences transcend to how they perceive and view health traditions such as health maintenance, promotion and restoration. However, with these differences, health remain important and something that transcends all the societies or cultures.


Scriven, A. (2010). Promoting Health: a Practical Guide (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Balliere Tindall/    Elsivier



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