Partners in Healing

A Good Idea


The Partners in Healing Program is an initiative to increase understanding between healthcare providers and Hmong shaman in Merced County, CA. More than 8,000 Hmong refugees live in Merced County, many of whom are likely to seek medical care from a traditional healer, due to limited English proficiency and a distrust of Western healthcare providers. The Partners in Healing certificate program trains Merced physicians and Hmong shaman to share health care experience and information. As a part of the training, physicians are invited to attend traditional healing ceremonies performed by shaman, and shaman tour local hospitals and are educated by physicians in Western style medicine. This exchange facilitates cultural understanding between Western providers and Hmong shaman, allowing physicians to provide culturally sensitive care, and enabling Hmong shaman to refer patients to Western practitioners when appropriate.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the Partners in Healing Program is to improve health care and access to health services among Hmong refugees.

Results / Accomplishments

71 shamans and over 150 American health care providers have participated in this project. Patients report that they are less fearful to seek care from a physician when referred and/or accompanied by their shaman. The program has reduced cultural and linguistic barriers to healthcare for the Hmong community in Merced.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Marilyn Mochel
Healthy House Within a MATCH Coalition
1729 Canal Street
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 724-0102
Health / Access to Health Services
Health / Alternative Medicine
Healthy House Within a MATCH Coalition
National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University
Date of publication
Merced County, CA
For more details
Target Audience
Racial/Ethnic Minorities

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