curanderismo; curandera; hispanic; anthropology; medical anthropology, traditional medicine


Curanderismo is a holistic form of traditional medicine primarily used by Latin American populations and Hispanic communities in the United States. This type of care focuses on several aspects of health including physical, emotional and spiritual (supernatural). Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority population in the United States and yet healthcare access to this population remains limited by various barriers including lack of insurance, legal status, language, poverty, and other structural factors. Within this context, exploring the perceptions and role of traditional medicine, like curanderismo, as a form of healthcare becomes crucial in understanding and addressing the unique healthcare needs of diverse populations. This research uses the ethnographic method of semi-structured interviews contextualized with participant observations to explore the views and experiences of Hispanic young adults on curanderismo, in efforts to understand how Hispanic individuals perceive and navigate their health care choices while retaining aspects of their cultural background. My findings indicate that the term “curanderismo” does not accurately represent how Hispanic young adults in the United States identify the practices associated with curanderismo. I argue that there are stigmas associated with curanderismo that reflect structural barriers to care that contribute to healthcare disparities within the Hispanic community and further argue that elder female figures have a significant influence on the continuation of curanderismo among Hispanic young adults.

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Thesis Chair

Mishtal, Joanna


College of Sciences



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Access Status

Open Access

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Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus