vis-à-vis: Explorations in Anthropology,
Vol.XX, No. X, pp. 1
17.vav.library.utoronto.caThis article © 2012 douglas c. reeser and Federico Cintrón-MoscosoLicensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada license.
Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida
University of Puerto Rico
Immigrant Health Care Niches:Exploring the Role of Botánicas inTampa, FL
Botánicas are shops found in most major U.S. cities with a Latino populationthat carry products and provide services that are essential elements of alternativemedico-religious systems that originated in Latin America and the Caribbean.This paper briefly examines the ways in which immigrants in the U.S. utilizetraditional or alternative systems of healing, often
and even usually
as acomplement to biomedicine. It then summarizes the small amount of literatureon botánicas and the role they play in immigrant health in the U.S. This isfollowed by a discussion of an exploratory research project on botánicas inTampa, FL, where a number of botánica shops are found in variousneighborhoods in the city. A basic description of the shops and interviews withshop owners are presented, followed by a discussion on the potentialsignificance of the geographic location of two particular groups of botánicas isexplored.
ealth care and immigration are two highly polarizing issues in the U.S:
who “should”, or
should not, have access to health care is routinelydebated, while unauthorized immigration is often framed as harmful tothe country. While the number of legal immigrants in the U.S. from the Caribbeanand Latin America has steadily decreased over the past several decades, the actual
resident population from this “sending region” has dramatically increased due to
undocumented immigration (U.S. Census Bureau 2009). Immigrants from thissending region are known to use a number of alternative and traditional healthsystems that now play a role in health care practices of that population in the U.S.With the exception of research that examines how immigrants use the U.S. healthcare system (Saint-Jean and Crandall 2005; Horton 2004), however, theintersection of health care and the immigrant population is relatively under-researched.