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How Can Dermatology Care Be Improved for Muslim Patients?

Incorporation of religion into cultural humility training recommended, as well as dermatology education at community events

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | November 15, 2023

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2023 -- Religion should be integrated into existing cultural humility training in order to better address the unique needs of Muslim dermatology patients, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Dermatology.

Ghida El-Banna, M.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in Redwood City, California, and colleagues explored the perceptions of Muslim patients of their dermatology care in a qualitative mixed-methods study composed of surveys and semistructured interviews. Twenty-one patients participated in the study: five men and 16 women, including 10 who wore hijab.

According to the researchers, the survey results demonstrated variation of the impact of Islamic practices on dermatology care. Based on interviews, dermatology care was not perceived as a priority by Muslim patients, and they expressed interest in community events highlighting general dermatology education. Stigmatization of their skin disease and cosmetic care was experienced. The Muslim patient-dermatologist relationship and disclosure of the need for accommodations was hindered by prior experiences with Islamophobia and colorism. Participants described instances of bias and poor cultural humility from dermatologists. Religious and cultural needs pertinent to their care, including clinician gender concordance, adjustment of medication timing while fasting, and halal medication ingredients, were unique to Muslim participants.

"Clinical and educational interventions to address gaps in the care of Muslim patients in dermatology are needed," the authors write. "Future research should focus on the epidemiology of skin disease in Muslim subpopulations and Muslim patients' health-seeking behaviors."


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