Somali Refugees: The Role of Men in Women's Health Decisions (Pilot Study)

Principal Investigator: Crista Johnson- Agbakwu

Funding: Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, Pilot Incubator Grant (2008-2009)

This research examined the role of men as partners and spouses, and how this informs women’s decision-making regarding their bodies and the choices they make regarding their care. Very few studies have considered the perspectives of men within the context of the cultures and societies where FGC is normative, the role they play in medical decision-making, and how these dynamics may be altered with acculturation to a Western social context. Aims were: 1) to equip health care providers to better understand the socio-cultural factors which may influence women’s decisions regarding their health care; 2) to facilitate capacity-building and partnership of the Somali community with the local health care institutions to enable the development of clinical guidelines and training protocols that are informed by the needs of the community and specifically address the needs of refugee and immigrant women within an appropriate cultural context; and 3) to inform the development of interventional programs which will increase health care service use by Somali women and enhance their satisfaction with care received so as to improve the quality of health care delivery as well as their health outcomes. Eligible participants included Somali men over age 18, who are refugees or immigrants residing in Maricopa County, Arizona.