Background: Arab American women have preferred women physicians of their own culture in the past. The primary aim of this study is to determine the current influence of religion/culture among MENA women and their preferences for physicians of same sex, culture, and religion on the avoidance and uncomfortableness of routine and women's health exams. Methods: A cross sectional community survey including religiosity and the importance of physician matched sex, culture, and religion was completed. Outcome measures were avoidance of a routine physical exam, or a women's health exam because of religious/cultural issues; and the uncomfortableness of the women's health exam. Linear regression modeling was used to evaluate the association between outcomes and potential predictors, with significance assessed using a bootstrap method. Findings: The responses of 97 MENA women 30–65 years old showed that MENA women agreed that they would avoid routine health exams because of religious/cultural issues if their physician was of the same religion or culture as they were (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, respectively) or they had less education (p < 0.05). MENA women also avoided women's health exams due to religious/cultural issues if her physician was of the same religion as she (p < 0.01). Interpretation: MENA women 30–65 years old may no longer be bound to a female physician of their same religion/culture for their health exams. Funding: This work was supported by NIH through the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research UL1TR002240 and The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center P30CA046592-29-S4 grants.
The Lancet Regional Health - Americas, Volume 10, June 2022,