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Jessica O'Reilly, Sociology


In this ethnographic study, we looked at how the Somali people view illness and disease in a Western society. In addition, we looked at how differing views and cultural practices affected their treatment and interpretation of Western medicine. Due to the ongoing increase of Somali people in the United States, this topic is important in showcasing the difficulties that newcomers face when it comes to medicine and how these experiences shape their view of Western medicine. These difficulties include language barriers and cultural differences. Our main focus was on the St. Cloud area due to its close proximity to the College of Saint Benedict and the fact that Minnesota has the highest percentage of Somali people in the U.S. The study involved interviews from the director of English Learners at Discovery Community Elementary School, doctors at the St. Cloud Hospital emergency department and within the CentraCare clinic system, a Somali community health worker, and Somali college students.