Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



As a result of ongoing civil war and civil unrest in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, every year, the United States accepts increasing numbers of refugees from Burma, of which there is a population of significance within the greater Indianapolis area. When considering options for health care, Burmese refugees may opt for self care instead of care from a health care professional as a result of clashing cultural factors or fears of the unknown.

This study aims to uncover how members of the Chin ethnic group have been challenged or confronted by the social, cultural, and political institutions surrounding the United States health care system. What meanings and values have these groups assigned to their traditional health care practices? How have these practices been modified as a result of influence by the US health care model or through sociocultural experiences while living within the United States? What meanings have these refugees attached to their cultural beliefs about health care in contrast with the expectations found through the utilization of the US model of health care?

It is important to understand the meanings and values that Chin refugees place on home remedies and traditional practices of medicines and how these meanings and values have come into contact with the American system. Uncovering the qualitative values of experiences had by members of this population will produce a basis for future study and an impetus for improved health care services.