Dodi Meyer, M.D., FAAP, has made it a point to learn about the home remedies used by the Dominican families in her New York City practice.

Her nonjudgmental attitude about remedies such as sancochito puts patients at ease. The syrup of castor oil, lemon and onion is used to treat asthma, but many families are afraid doctors will disapprove if they admit to using it.

“When they know I know the name, there’s a smile on their face and they relax,” said Dr. Meyer, who permits patients to take sancochito as a complement to prescribed asthma medication.

As the United States grows increasingly diverse, pediatricians face the challenge of creating an environment where families from different cultures can feel comfortable sharing their stories.

A nonjudgmental attitude, knowledge about home remedies and a genuine concern for patients can help engender trust and improve a pediatrician’s ability to deliver culturally effective care....

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