Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Roberta Baer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeanine Coreil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Romero-Daza, Ph.D.


cultural competence, culturally appropriate, culturally congruent, culturally relevant, cultural diversity, Hispanics, Mexican-American, rural health services, migrant farmworkers


The growing number of minority populations living in the United States makes it mandatory that all health care organizations seek to be culturally sensitive. There is no consensus on the definition of the term cultural sensitivity. The goal of this thesis is to define what cultural sensitivity means in a rural health center, from the perspective of the staff as well as the Hispanic patient. Anthropological methods, such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and archival data analysis, show that the qualities that Hispanic patients value in a clinic are 1) attention, 2) availability of Spanish language, 3) financial assistance, 4) solution to their health problems, 5) presence of Hispanics around the clinic, and 6) clinic services. Furthermore, 90% of staff responses indicate acceptance and respect of patients health beliefs and practices. Results demonstrate that while the clinic is culturally sensitive, there are a few recommendations that would improve the quality of care that Hispanics receive. Based on the results of the data collection, a practical model for other rural health centers to build upon a culturally sensitive health care system is developed.