The relationship between ethnicity and modes of response to illness has been well documented. One example is stoicism as contrasted with volatile behavior in response to pain of different groups. Another is increasing awareness of the fact that non-traditional healers (eog., espiritistas, cuaranderos) are used extensively by members of various ethnic groups.

Insufficient attention has been paid to how such knowledge can be incorporated in social work practice.

This paper reviews prevailing social work interventive procedures and skills and suggests needed adaptations if social work practice is to be more sensitive and responsive to different health behaviors and beliefs of various ethnic groups.

Consideration is given to various views of illness causation, response, cure and death. In this context the potential for varying modes of cooperation with nontraditional healers is explored.