University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Lessons Learned: COVID Management and Cultural Practices in the US Hmong Community

Maichou Lor, PhD, RN; Phia Xiong, MD

WMJ. 2021;120(4):316-320.

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Introduction: Racially and ethnically minoritized communities are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, it is not well understood how these communities are coping with and managing COVID-19. Research has shown that patients’ cultural identities and practices can affect their health behaviors.

Case Presentation: We report the cases of 2 Hmong patients, a middle-aged man and an elderly woman, who were diagnosed with COVID-19. Both patients used a combination of traditional remedies and Western medical treatments to combat COVID-19.

Discussion: It is important to recognize how culture can affect COVID-19 treatment decisions in the Hmong population. The power of social networks in disseminating inaccurate information during the pandemic is something to be aware of within the Hmong community.

Conclusion: Hmong patients are likely to use traditional remedies passed along through virtual social platforms and word of mouth, due to poor access, limited health literacy, and low English proficiency skills. Culturally acceptable interventions are needed to improve access to health literacy interventions, including better translations of COVID-19 information for the Hmong community.

Author Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Nursing, Madison, Wisconsin (Lor); Department of Medicine, SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, New York (Xiong).
Corresponding Author: Maichou Lor, PhD, RN, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing, 701 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53705, phone 608.265.4248; email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-8451-4364.
Funding/Support: Maichou Lor was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under award number K23NR019289. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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