This article from the New York Times talks about shamans being integrated in to the hospital setting in order to better treat patients. Although it does talk about other tradition healers, it focuses on Hmong shamans in Mercy Medical Center in Merced, California. The shamans have been given the same access as clergy members. They have been trained and taught aspects of Western medicine. Hmong tradition believes that illness is caused by the soul wandering off or being captured. When the Hmong refugees first came over they did not understand Western medicine, many of the practices being taboo, which led to many complications that could have easily been avoided. By teaching the shamans about germ theory and having them perform different ceremonies for patients, outcomes have improved. The doctors are better able to communicate with patients and vise versa. The doctors have also seen differences improvements in patients because of the ceremonies and that has helped them to better understand the beliefs, although they have related this to the placebo effect.
The healers are the shamans and the doctors. As Mr. Lee, a shaman, states, the disease is the responsibility of the doctor and the shamans the soul. I would say that the shamans have a high social status, like healers in most societies. The techniques they use in the hospital are calmer versions of the traditional ceremonies. These ceremonies aren’t loud and must be approved by a patients roommate if necessary. Of course, ceremonies done outside of the hospital are different. The shamans will chant and use different objects as part of the ceremonies. Sometimes leaving things in the patients room.
The shamans operate within the folk sector. They are a traditional healer and treat the patients in traditional ways. They also operate within the a professional sector because they work within the hospital, under certain rules, and with licensed physicians. The shamans care is delivered to the patient by performing a ceremony; in the hospital in Merced there are 9 ceremonies that have been approved. In Hmong culture they believe that illness is a condition of the soul and the shamans job is to address those issues.