Disparities in healthcare

I interviewed my family physician and the majority of her patients are females, so I thought she would be an appropriate choice for this blog post. Family medicine is comprehensive health care for people of any age or gender. Physicians are able to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, as well as provide preventive care. This hospital offers preventive care measures including physical checkups, immunizations, screening tests, and health assessments. She performs a multitude of services including annual gynecological check ups, physicals, and blood work. She told me that the majority of her female patient population is made up of middle-age women living in the surrounding suburban areas. She admitted that this specific hospital does not encounter many women of low socioeconomic status or even a multitude of ethnicities. She reported that her biggest concern for the population of women she serves is the population of high school females. She said she has had countless high school female patients admit to being sexually active, yet being too scared to tell their parents. Her biggest worry is that these young girls will continue to make unsafe sexual health decisions and hinder their future by doing so. My physician believes the main difference in healthcare needs among diverse women is the financial cost barrier that many women of other populations face. Women who are of low socioeconomic status are more likely to skip their annual physical and gynecological checkup, because of more pressing financial needs they may be faced with.

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Women’s Health through Mary’s eyes

I have been volunteering at a local church in Muncie this semester and have been blessed enough to work closely with and develop a friendship with Mary. Mary is 63 years old and has lived in Muncie, Indiana the entire duration of her life thus far. She graciously agreed to participate in an interview conducted by myself earlier this week.

I was nervous about interviewing Mary, because I didn’t want to offend her with any of my questions, but I also wanted to gain valuable information focused on her thoughts on women’s health. When I asked Mary how she would describe her sense of identity she quickly responded with “I’m a hard-working African American women who has had to work twice as hard as a white man to achieve my goals, but I couldn’t do it without my faith.” Mary is a Christian, so she also identifies with the other women who attend her same church and believes her faith is one of the most important aspects of her health. “I don’t think I would even be alive today if it wasn’t for my faith,” Mary answered when asked about the most important aspect of health.

Mary suffered a heart attack three years ago and was in critical condition for multiple days. When I asked Mary if her sense of personal identity affects her quality of healthcare she blatantly responded with a quick no. Mary was adamant that the only thing that could have any role of her health and healthcare is her faith and relationship with God. Mary does not worry about the quality of healthcare she receives, because she believes she is in good hands with the Lord. Mary admitted to me that she prays for optimal health everyday and believes that she survived her heart attack without complications because of her consistent devotion to her faith.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time diving into Mary’s thought process and beliefs concerning her personal identity and how it affects her healthcare. It is obvious to me that faith is often allows people to overcome health obstacles and Mary’s personal story was eye-opening for my thought process concerning women’s health.

How I Envision Women’s Health

As with most things in life, there are many different aspects of health and all aspects have the ability to play an influential role in one’s health status and healthcare. Mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual healths are important components and are necessary to successfully envision women’s health. Mental health refers to the use of our mental capacities, including how we handle situations and our ability to make sound decisions. Emotional health is measured by the ability to appropriately express feelings, as well as cope with problems. Physical health is the condition of the body’s organ systems and how it reacts when faced with illnesses or diseases. Friends, family, and peers influence social health; therefore, it focuses on the ability to interact effectively with others, as well as participate in meaningful relationships. Lastly, spiritual health pertains to the soul or spirit and focuses on an individual’s beliefs, faith, and relationship with God.   I believe that health is an important concept that emphasizes the continual need to be a well-rounded person in many aspects of one’s life.

As a society, we are daily labeling the other people we interact with, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally; however, I found that brainstorming the labels I use to describe my identity was surprisingly difficult. I would say Caucasian, student, female, Christian, and money-conscious would be the top five contenders. I think the label that has the most impact on my health and health care would be student.

Healthcare in the United States can be extremely expensive; luckily, I am blessed to have insurance through my parents. Even though I do have health insurance, it is not ideal to spend any additional money on medicine or any other healthcare necessities, because working my way through college is difficult enough without any extra financial burdens. I think that my sense of identity as a student affects my healthcare, because I do not go to the doctor or take medicine unless it is absolutely imperative to my health. As a student, I am extremely busy with an overwhelming schedule and sometimes that means canceling a follow-up or check-up appointment. I think that in general, college students neglect their health due to time and money necessary to obtain the proper healthcare in the United States.