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Over 1.2 million Southeast Asian refugees have resettled in the United States since 1975, and little is known about health care approaches employed by aging refugee and immigrant populations. Experiences of aging refugee populations differ from typical aging populations who have not experienced international resettlement, and the hierarchy of health-care strategies utilized by aging refugee populations reflects this difference in experience.

Data for this project was drawn from 26 in-depth interviews and participant observations conducted with members of a Cambodian community in coastal Alabama. In-depth interviews were also conducted with local health care providers and Khmer physicians. Personal narratives document sentiments towards traditional Khmer medicine as primary care and Western biomedicine as supplementary care in treating a variety of ailments, particularly chronic illness related to aging. Information from the result of this research is presented within a framework of household production of health theory.

This research is significant because it shows how U.S. health care providers can be more adept in providing appropriate care to address the health needs of Southeast Asian refugees in the United States. This can be done with the goal of supplementing traditional health care practices with Western biomedicine without impeding on existing culture. Steps toward this include creating a rapport of trust and respect by listening to refugee narratives and experiences.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 3 November 2018

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022