Module 2 – Home

Cultural Identity

Modular Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, the student will be able to satisfy the following outcomes:

  • Case
    • Explain how cultural beliefs, values, and traditions may impact health education efforts.
  • SLP
    • Apply a culture-centered health education planning model to identify factors that influence a specific health behavior within a target cultural group.
  • Discussion
    • Discuss enabling factors associated with health behavior.

Module Overview

According to USDHHS (2005), “’Culture” refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. ‘Competence’ implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989).”

Culture influences health beliefs, health behaviors, and health status of individuals, families, and communities. Dr. Collins Airhihenbuwa, a health educator and a professor at The Pennsylvania State University Department of Biobehavioral Health, found that many health education programs are designed from a Western culture perspective. He developed a program planning model called PEN-3 that guides the development of health promotion interventions by incorporating cultural influences on health behaviors.

The PEN-3 model has been successfully used to plan and implement child survival interventions and HIV prevention interventions in African countries. It is very useful for health educators in any country as we try to promote health among individuals and communities from various cultures.

The PEN-3 model has three dimensions of health beliefs and behavior that all work together to influence health:

  1. Cultural Identity
  2. Relationships and Expectations
  3. Cultural Empowerment

In this module we will focus on Cultural Identity. The three factors in this dimension are:

P – Person. Health education should be committed to improving the health of everyone. Therefore, individuals should be empowered to make informed decisions which are appropriate to their roles in their families and communities. As program planners, we have to decide whether we will be most effective providing programs geared to the individuals, the extended family, or the community.

E – Extended Family. Health education should be targeted to not only the immediate family but also to the extended family or kinships. When the program is designed to target a particular member of the family, the individual should become the focus within the context of that person’s environment.

N – Neighborhood. Health education should be committed to promoting health and preventing disease in neighborhoods and communities. Involvement of community members and their leaders is critical to providing culturally appropriate health programs.

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