Indigenous vs. Modern Medicine: At Odds or in Harmony?

Student Author(s)

Rachel Butts

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Maria Claudia André

Document Type


Event Date



The goal of this project is to explore the relationship between the indigenous medical practices of South America and Western modern medicine. Since many Andean cultures may have beliefs that conflict with or differ from the current understanding of health and illness, the integration of contemporary medical practices into society is often problematic in Andean countries. In light of the common occurrence of medical pluralism in these areas, health care workers and policy-makers face a unique challenge; they must find solutions that provide the best care for these individuals without disrespecting their beliefs and traditions. In addition to other indigenous groups that inhabit parts of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, the following larger Andean cultures will specifically be investigated: the Quechua, Mapuche, and Aymara.

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