Presentation on theme: "Faith and Health Partnerships"— Presentation transcript:
1 Faith and Health Partnerships Lowell Community Health CenterTrairatanaram Temple, Glory Temple,Kirivongsabopharam Temple,Watmixyaram (Lao) Temple
2 OverviewLowell: Population-105,000, 2nd largest Cambodian population in U.S. at 25,000Lowell Community Health Center: serves 22,000 people annually with medical care, behavioral health care, and public health promotion; 22% AsianMetta Health Center: Integrates mental, spiritual, and physical health services through Southeast Asian and western treatment
3 Metta Health Center Metta = loving kindness in Pali, Buddhist language Staff: Primarily Southeast Asian and others with experience in Southeast AsiaServices: Primary care for all ages, lab, mental health services, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, consulting Buddhist monk and Kru Khmer
4 The Cambodian Experience : War, social disruptions; movement from countryside to cities: Pol Pot Period1979: Vietnamese invasionRefugees flee to Thai borderResettlement in U.S.
5 Partnership Examples Health Screenings Nutrition Learning Health EducationHealth Screenings
6 Elements of LCHC – Buddhist Temple Partnership 1. Metta Health screenings (diabetes)Flu shotsNew Years Outreach (New Years is in April)Meet together regularlyMonk is official consultant, name tag, welcome to mental health teamMonk gave the name for Metta Health Center = loving kindness, one of the four basic approaches of BuddhismMonk participated in planning the CenterMental health – taking people to the temple, recommending ceremonies, depending on patient’s particular problem
7 Public Health & Faith Institute, Emory University Monks use MHC services – from 4 temples, feel comfortable coming because understand, speak same language, Khmer NP (not Buddhist)Monks refer people to the MHC: Patient who said monk told him to go to “our health center” – good sign of “ownership”Blessing of site (also Protestant minister)New Year’s celebrations at the health center with blessings from monkMeditation Center
8 2. CCH 2010 Health Fairs/Booth at New Years Meditation Health education sessions at the temple on diabetes, CVD, nutrition, including special night in lunar calendarElders’ Council Remembrance Day for 9/11, Khmer Rouge victims with monks chanting and diabetes, blood pressure screeningCommunity behavioral risk factor surveyLearning tours with monks in attendanceBo Jom Roeun Ayu – Ceremony encouraging children’s attention to their parents’ health
9 CCH 2010 Community SurveyRandom sample of 500, adults 25 and older, interviews in homes99% born in Cambodia87% Buddhist, 10% over 50 meditate28% get health information from temple/church96% always speak Khmer at home73% used traditional treatments
10 3. Cambodian Health Service Improvement Program/Reaksmey Sangkhim Patients go to temple for detox and recoveryPatients go to temple for teaching and then help clean up or cook to give community serviceMonk at AIDS Walk, spokeField trip to Kirivongsabopharam TempleMeditation/stress reduction as part of treatment
11 4. Men of Color Program 5. Tobacco Education Outreach to men through the temple to make them aware of need for preventive health care, prostate screening5. Tobacco EducationTemple became smoke freeCambodian weddings no longer give cigarettes as part of reception practicePSA filmed at the temple
12 Role of Buddhist Temples & Religious Leaders in Addressing Health Especially Relevant Buddhist Teachings That Relate to Health – Preventive Health, Mental Health/Stress (Meditation, Ceremonies)5 precepts: Don’t lie, kill, steal, commit adultery, drink alcoholCutting desire leads to less suffering and less anxietyImpermanance of life, get old, get sick,die – can’t avoid itBasic qualities should seek: loving kindness,compassion, equanimity, & sympathetic joy
13 Mental Health and suffer from PTSD. Many Cambodians are depressedand suffer from PTSD.Severe & moderate mental illness atmore than 3X general US population rates.Many are not able to understand what they are suffering fromas there are no directly translatable terms in Khmer.Cambodians’ collective traumatic experiences include witnessingwar, separation from and death of family members, culturaldestruction, torture, and starvation.Many remain isolated and hopeless, unaware that help is available.
14 Health Beliefs Influences: Wind illness - internal conditions Holistic sense of health and wellnessInfluences:Wind illness - internal conditionsdue to lack of balanceor harmonyHot-Cold imbalancesEnvironmental forcesWorking too hard,“thinking too much”Spirits
15 Approaches to Treatment Understanding cause of illnessTreatmentsRestoring balanceCoining (rubbing the wind), Cupping (sucking the wind), Pinching (pinching the wind)Hot-cold balanceAddressing spiritsWestern medicineInjections / Medications
16 Traditional Healing Koh Kyol (Coining) - is used to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, upper respiratoryinfection, nausea, weak heart, and malaise.Pinching - is used to treat headache and malaiseUch (known as "moxibustion" in the literature) is used to treat gastro-intestinal and other disorders. Oyt pleung is seldom done in the U.S., but many adults will have four to six 1-2 cm round abdominal scars from the procedure.Traditional and Herbal Medicines – can be bought in Asian stores, such medicines include a wide variety of plants (leaves, bark, extracts) and other substances. (Chinese Medicines)Kruu Khmer healing methods
17 Spiritual Healing Religious articles – amulets, strings, katha, Buddha images, commonlyworn around the neck or waist.Yuan – written in magical Pali,usually hung on doors or folded in pockets.Tattoos - an older means of protection against harm or illnessNot originally buddhistMost Khmer are more oriented to illness than prevention of illness.
18 Buddhist Explanations for Disease/Illness Has to do with faith, e.g., family problems are their karma, because they did something wrong in previous life and they need to endure that pain.“Trapped” souls cause mental and family problems – ceremonies help to release the soul and cure problemsDesire causes problems, suffering
19 Building the Relationship Different for Khmer and Non-KhmerMust be flexible enough to fit in with monks’ time and availabilityLong term relationship buildingPassed from onegeneration toanotherWillingness to sit,wait, listen, learn
20 Building the Relationship Maintain both an inner and outer respect for othersRead about Buddhism and its practicePay attention to what others are doing and how they are reacting to a situation, and be cautious when entering into a situation.Learn about the culture & attempt to implement that knowledge.
21 The Promise and the Challenges of the Relationship What does one do with a demanding patient who is a monk? Respect the monk and what he says is always right.How can you compensate the temple or the monk when monks can’t take money, no way to get social security number for auditOwn sense of timeMust eat before noonTransportation – usually don’t drive, not supposed to according to religionDifferent language used with monks and a lot of younger generation staff don’t know how to speak that wayDon’t speak much English and difficult for lay person to translateOften don’t get out of the temple much
22 From Step by Step, Maha Ghosananda “We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to the Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will then become our temples. We have so much work to do.”
23 Promise & ChallengesBecause only small number of monks, greatly in demand and have limited time to spend with usSome monks are responsible to other towns/temples, sometimes far away, e.g., South CarolinaDifferent monks have different English levels and levels of information about health care system here and approaches to treatment, e.g., ideas about treating alcoholism – a disease here, not to many Cambodians and especially monksDifferent resources from Christian, Jewish organizations, e.g., no clothes to give people, but temple can actually provide shelter, a place to stay
24 Impact on Reducing Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities Promoted trust, healthybehaviors, access to careDecreased isolation –meet with friends, visitHelped people stay soberHelped mental healthpatients relax and get rid of sufferingEmpowered elders to lead others
25 Useful ResourcesInterfaith Health Program of Emory University:MN Web Site:
26 Lowell Community Health Center Contact InformationSonith Peou, Director of Metta Health Center:Sidney Liang, Director of Cambodian Community Health 2010:Bunrith Sath, Coordinator, Reaksmey Sangkhim:Dorcas Grigg-Saito, Executive Director, LCHC:
27 Thank You Sidney Liang, Project Director of Cambodian Community Health 2010, created many of the slides used in thispresentation.
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