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Understanding Health Inequalities and JusticeBridging Perspectives for New Conversations$
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Mara Buchbinder, Michele Rivkin-Fish, and Rebecca Walker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630359

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630359.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Cultural Health Capital

Cultural Health Capital

A Sociological Intervention into Patient-Centered Care and the Affordable Care Act

Chapter:
(p.235) 9 Cultural Health Capital
Source:
Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice
Author(s):

Janet K. Shim

Jamie Suki Chang

Leslie A. Dubbin

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630359.003.0010

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act promulgated a number of fundamental changes to the United States health-care system. Less visible and controversial aspects included the creation of institutions and strategies to reduce health disparities and enhance the quality and patient-centeredness of health care. In this chapter, we offer the concept of cultural health capital (CHC) as a sociological intervention for analyzing these changes aimed at making health care more patient-centered, particularly for historically underserved populations. In particular, we use the notion of CHC to illustrate how patient-centered care is accomplished or undone through complex interpersonal and interactional work that is highly dependent on access to stratified cultural resources that both patients and providers bring to health-care interactions. In so doing, we aim to contest that racism in health care is the primary source of health inequalities. Instead we argue that patients’ and providers’ cultural assets and interactional styles—themselves the product of complex social, cultural, historical, political, and economic contexts—influence their abilities to communicate with and understand one another.

Keywords:   Cultural Health Capital, Patient-centered care, Affordable Care Act, Health disparities, Health inequalities, Health-care interactions, Underserved populations

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