Chronic Diseases And Culturally Competent Communication
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Chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes continue to account for an ever-increasing proportion –an estimated 73% by 2020 –of the global burden of disease, fueled by the epidemiologic transition. Despite their widespread prevalence and significant economic impact, no medical treatment has managed to significantly halt chronic disease progression. Socioeconomic and cultural needs often trump diet and exercise advice administered in medical settings. This is especially true for obesity, a disease that often precipitates multiple other co-morbidities such as cancer and diabetes. This thesis proposes to attack the growing obesity epidemic by changing the way health practitioners and public health workers interact with at-risk populations. Successful techniques and their efficacy were analyzed using peer-reviewed publications pulled from medical, public health, and technology-based sources. I argue that we can reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases by facilitating interdisciplinary communication between patients, health care professionals, and community health workers. Greater communication will allow patients to gain ownership over their health information and better evaluate the connection between their daily activities and health evaluations at the clinic. This interdisciplinary communication model will be based on pre-existing communication concepts currently taught in healthcare such as clinical empathy or patient-centered communication.