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Health care, cultural clashes are focus of speech

Feb. 21, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Critical issues in health care, ethics and cultures will be the focus of a speech at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, on the campus of Western Michigan University that is centered on the book, "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down," by Anne Fadiman.

The free and open event will be will be in Room 1010 of the College of Health and Human Services Building with a reception following the talk. It will kick off a series of group discussions on the book scheduled for March.

The speaker is Dr. Ia Kue, a first generation Hmong woman who is a family practice physician in the Lansing, Mich., area and has been involved nationally in discussions on the book. She brings a unique perspective as a Hmong individual who practices western medicine with respect for the cultural context of her service.

"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" is a story of a young girl named Lia who lives with her family in southern California. Lia has severe and difficult-to-control epilepsy, and she is of the Hmong culture. The books offers a compelling narrative of the ethical, moral and practical challenges related to Lia's complex health care needs, with emphasis on her family's sometimes difficult relationship with her many caregivers and the clash between Hmong and U.S. culture.

During March, College of Health and Human Services students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to discuss the book in small groups. For a list of discussion groups during the month, visit www.wmich.edu/hhs. An open online book discussion is also available at GoWMU Groups under "CHHS Reading Group Spr 08."

For more information or to volunteer to lead a discussion group, contact Dr. Richard Long at richard.long@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2540. Students are particularly encouraged to sign up as discussion leaders.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
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