Cultural Health Capital - A Foundation for Active Patienthoods and a Catalyst for Improving Patients’ Satisfaction in Health Care Experiences: A Proposal for its Implementation Within Educational Curricula

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 10-1-2012

Department 1



In this article I propose a new public policy that would avoid the restrictiveness of managed care policies. The problem with these guidelines is that patients are left with little to no time to express their interests and concerns in their medical encounters. Essentially, managed care has forced patients into a passive and submissive patienthood. Due to this, patients have assessed their health care experiences as being unsatisfactory. Instead, patients wish to become active, collaborative, decision-making participants in their health care experiences. One way to achieve this new role is through the accruement of cultural health capital (i.e. health-related information). By accumulating cultural health capital patients will become health literate, and will increasingly grow aware of their capabilities to negotiate health care services in an advantageous manner. For example, the benefits patients would receive from being able to interact with their physicians in a medical dialect would encourage patient-provider collaboration, and thus active patienthoods. Therefore, this article considers the way in which cultural health capital provides foundation for collaborative interactions. Then, based upon my conclusions I propose a policy that would implement cultural health capital within America’s current education curriculum. Consequently, this concrete and universal institutionalization of health resources would set in motion America’s much needed health literate movement, and would improve patients’ assessments of their health care experiences and outcomes to a level that is more than satisfactory.

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