Chapter 4. Maya Mohammed: A 15-Year-Old Arab American Teenager with Leukemia

  1. Lisa Hark PhD, RD Consultant4 and
  2. Horace DeLisser MD Associate Professor Assistant Dean5
  1. Amal Mohamed Osman Khidir MD, FAAP Assistant Professor Director1,
  2. Alexander Chou MD Instructor2 and
  3. Lyuba Konopasek MD Associate Professor Course Director Director3

Published Online: 27 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444311686.ch4

Achieving Cultural Competency: A Case-Based Approach to Training Health Professionals

Achieving Cultural Competency: A Case-Based Approach to Training Health Professionals

How to Cite

Khidir, A. M. O., Chou, A. and Konopasek, L. (2009) Maya Mohammed: A 15-Year-Old Arab American Teenager with Leukemia, in Achieving Cultural Competency: A Case-Based Approach to Training Health Professionals (eds L. Hark and H. DeLisser), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444311686.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 4

    Department of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  2. 5

    Cultural Competency and Spirituality, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Pediatric Clerkship, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, Qatar

  2. 2

    Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

  3. 3

    Pediatric Undergraduate Education, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405180726

Online ISBN: 9781444311686



  • Arab American teenager with leukemia;
  • distinguishing religious and cultural traditions of Arab Americans;
  • potential sensitivities in communicating and performing a physical exam for muslim teens;
  • islamic dietary laws in caring a hospitalized muslim teen;
  • “leukemia - a type of cancer”;
  • complex issue in muslim communities - helpful to involve an imam and a muslim physician


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Is it appropriate that Dr. Brown asked about sexual activity and how should he respond to Maya's reaction?

  • What would be the most appropriate response to this request for a female physician?

  • Despite the physician's efforts to ensure that she understood the urgency, why did Mrs. Ali go home rather than to the ED?

  • How should the physician and staff respond to the father's requests?

  • How could the team resolve this conflict and begin to form a therapeutic alliance with the parents?

  • Should Mrs. Ali's opinion about chemotherapy be asked directly in front of her husband?

  • Are there any issues related to Maya's care in the hospital that should be considered in the context of this family's culture and their belief in Islam?

  • What are the rules surrounding Ramadan, children, and the sick? What is the best way to support Maya in her spiritual beliefs while attending to her health care needs?

  • How can Maya's terminal illness be communicated to her and her family in a culturally appropriate manner?

  • Are there issues related to the family's religious beliefs that may impact on a palliative care plan?

  • How might the team provide culturally relevant and appropriate comfort and support to this patient and her family?

  • References