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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2016, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (5): 374-379.doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60267-6

• Research Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Complementary and alternative medicine practices, traditional healing practices, and cultural competency in pediatric oncology in Hawai'i

Asad Ghiasuddina, Joyce Wongb, Andrea M. Siuc   

  1. a Department of Psychiatry, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA 
    b Integrative Services Coordinator, Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA 
    c Regulatory Document Coordinator, Hawai’i Pacific Health Research Institute, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
  • Received:2016-04-30 Accepted:2016-06-15 Online:2016-09-15 Published:2016-09-15
  • Contact: Asad Ghiasuddin, MD, Assistant Professor; E-mail:


Hawai'i is an ethnically diverse island state with a high rate of both traditional healing (TH) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use. The aim of this project was to assess TH and CAM use within the pediatric oncology population in Honolulu and improve the delivery of culturally competent care.


A 9-item survey was distributed to all pediatric oncology patients at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children for 3 months. The survey inquired about patient ethnicity, TH practices, CAM practices and perception of cultural competence of the care received. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the survey items. Qualitative analysis was done with participant comments to identify themes.


Sixty-two surveys were completed. TH was used by 39% of the respondents in the home, and 10% in the hospital (top method was traditional foods). CAM was used by 27% of the respondents in the home, and 68% in the hospital (top method was healing touch). Ninety-seven percent of the respondents reported receiving culturally competent care. Areas for improvement included language services and dietary choices.


CAM and TH are used frequently by pediatric oncology patients in Hawai'i, and the vast majority of patients and families felt that the care they received was culturally competent.

Key words: Cultural competency, Medicine, Complementary and alternative, Traditional healing, Ethnicity, Pediatric, Cancer

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