Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 323–332 | Cite as

Clinical Issues in Caring for Former Chattel Slaves

  • Rebecca D. Blumhofer
  • Neha Shah
  • Michael A. Grodin
  • Sondra S. Crosby
Original Paper


Over the centuries, slavery has become embedded into the social fabric of Mauritania with generations of abid and bizan (Mauritanian slaves and slave masters, respectively) born and raised knowing nothing but the institution of chattel slavery. Abid fleeing their station in Mauritania come to the USA with unique psychological needs that will affect all of their interactions with the medical community. This paper aims to assist health professionals and others concerned with the welfare of former chattel slaves in competently serving this vulnerable population. Discussion includes an overview of Mauritanian chattel slavery, deduced sequelae of chattel slavery, preliminary recommendations for mental health and medical treatment protocols, and suggestions for future research. A confidential Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved case report will be used to illustrate these objectives.


Chattel slavery Mauritania Slave mentality Vulnerable patient population 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca D. Blumhofer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Neha Shah
    • 4
  • Michael A. Grodin
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sondra S. Crosby
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.South BostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human RightsBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Boston Medical Center, Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human RightsBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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