MARYLAND, UNITED STATES May 1, 2023 (Press Release, Montgomery County MD): Coinciding with the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Hindu Patients was released today marking a major initiative by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Office of Community Partnerships Asian Pacific American Advisory Group (APAAG.) The handbook provides detailed information specifically for Hindu and Jain patients. This endeavor is led by the advisory’s group’s co-chair, Ishani Chowdhury, who launched this effort several years ago. The project found a partner when the newly-formed Health Subcommittee formed by Gov. Wes Moore’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs took interest. The guidebook aims to inform health care providers of religious beliefs and traditions practiced by Hindus, as well as dietary needs of Jain patients. It covers a broad range of topics including prayer, maternity services, diet, traditional medicines and remedies, end of life issues, care for the elderly, as well County and state resources.

“This handbook is part of the ongoing effort in Montgomery County to ensure that health care providers have a better understanding of their patient’s cultural and religious backgrounds,” said Montgomery County Executive Elrich. “This effort lines up with our equity goals for healthcare in the County and will help families get the best care possible.” Adapted for the state of Maryland from a guidebook developed by Queensland Health, Government of Australia, the 24-page “Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Hindu Patients” draws insight from a diverse Hindu advisory committee and contains information not often addressed, such as astrological beliefs, abortion, home visits and medicines containing animal by-products. Queensland Health’s novel initiative was featured in the January/February/March 2013 edition of Hinduism Today magazine.

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Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Hindu Patients is available online for download here.