Japanese Scholar Presents on Rural Health Interventions

MARCH 21, 2013 - On March 19, Miki Marutani, DSN, spoke to students and faculty about the importance of public health nurses in rural communities.

Her scholarship, “Culturally Sensitive Health Interventions in Rural Communities to Prevent Lifestyle Related Disease,” analyzes the relationship between rural Japanese farmers and their health and values.

Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Chair in Values Based Health Care, originally met Marutani after she had been invited to speak in Japan about health promotion and research.

Acceptance is Key

Respecting the values and traditions of rural farmers, Marutani developed the ABC model of culturally-appropriate counseling: assessment, acceptance, awareness, balance, connection, and comfort.

The study concluded that public health nurses must be aware of culture values and show acceptance when connecting with those in rural communities.

‘Our daily activity is impacted by culture,” Marutani says.

According to the model, public health nurses provide basic health programs but must adjust them to fit the needs and features of the communities.

Five Methods

She listed her five methods for providing culturally-sensitive counseling as: showing a respect for local culture, using familiar examples to show health risks, understanding ambivalence about local culture, connecting reasons for lifestyle changes to culture, and adjusting healthy behaviors to fit local culture.

Anderko believes that Marutani’s work strongly aligns with the common good, an NHS value. Students invited to the presentation also mentioned that the study represents respect and diversity, another of the school’s values.

“Public health tends to look at the whole person,” Anderko says. “Here in America, we talk a lot about the quality of life, but a lot of the ABC model has to do with understanding values. You try to meet the person where they’re at and work towards a health goal.”

By Tiffani Haynes