This week I’m summarizing the New York Times Article, “A Doctor for Disease, a Shaman for the Soul”. The story is based in a California hospital which treats a relatively high number of patients from the country of Laos—those who had moved to the United States in refuge after the Vietnam War. These immigrants still hold dear the culture they had left behind in their home country. Their religious practices and (most importantly for this course) their beliefs on sickness and healing remain an integral part of their worldview. For this reason, the Mercy Medical Center in Merced, CA has adopted new policies in order to better treat this patient demographic; specifically in using techniques that extend beyond those learned in Western medical schools that comprise our bio-centric medical systems. In supplement to pharmaceuticals and other Western treatments, healing shamans have been granted access to hospital wards and allowed to perform a variety of hospital-sanctioned spiritual healing procedures at the bedsides of ailing Laos immigrants (procedures such as animal sacrifice, while essential to such spiritual healing, must be performed elsewhere). These healers’ presence in the hospital serves multiple purposes. It is important to note that the social status of these individuals much closer resembles that of the patients they are treating. Unlike their MD-wielding counterparts, Laos shamans are granted a more personal knowledge of the afflictions of their patients. Moreover, treated patients are more trusting of this form of treatment, and by extension the hospital that allows it, because of this intimacy. Perhaps most importantly, this policy reflects a growing acceptance within the standard system of Biomedicine of other forms of healing that originate outside of ethnocentric beliefs. In this case, the healing that Laos patients receive is two-pronged: medicine for the body, and spirituality for the soul. Ultimately, this coordination is intended to improve the standard of care for a diverse patient population, and in some circumstances to treat conditions either ethnomedical system alone might not be able to remedy.