Kenyan patients’ attitudes regarding doctor ethnicity and doctor–patient ethnic discordance


Objective: This study explored Kenyan patients’ perspectives on the role of ethnicity in the doctor– patient relationship. Methods: 221 participants completed questionnaires on ethnicity in doctor–patient relationships; eight focus groups were held with low- and middle-income urban and rural women. Results: About half of participants expressed no preference for doctor ethnicity. Participants rated demographic factors as less important than factors related to the doctor’s qualifications, communication skills, and cost of service. Those who did indicate a preference were more likely to prefer Indian doctors for eye problems and Europeans for major surgery, cancer, and heart problems. With less severe medical issues participants were more likely to prefer a doctor who was ethnically concordant with them. Reasons for this centered around communication issues. In contrast, several focus group participants did not want to be treated by doctors from their own ethnic group because of concerns about confidentiality. Conclusion: Additional research is needed on negative implications of patient–provider concordance. Practice implications: Medical service providers must be aware of concerns about ethnic concordance. Alternatively medical centers that deal with sensitive medical information need to consider hiring staff who are not of the majority ethnic group in their region.


Journal Article


Patient Perception, Preference, Participation, Patients’ attitudes, Doctor ethnicity, Doctor–patient ethnic discordance


Miller, A. N., Mwithia, J. K., Booker, N. A., Kizito, M. N., & Ngula, K. (2010). Kenyan Patients’ Attitudes Regarding Doctor Ethnicity and Doctor-Patient Ethnic Discordance. Patient Education and Counseling,82, 201-206