Mayan Medical Aid
Dress Code
Photo: Craig A. Sinkinson
Respect, Trust and Professionalism

During your time with Mayan Medical Aid, you are a representative of the organization - both during your clinical time and during your free time. It is important to realize that acceptable dress in your own culture is not necessarily appropriate for the indigenous culture in which you will be living during your time with Mayan Medical Aid.

Additionally, as a representative of Mayan Medical Aid, you are not a tourist. As such, how a tourist dresses is not the standard to which you should hold yourself. Tourists are itinerant and generally lack the cultural sensitivity you must demonstrate.

Your role in the community is to participate in the delivery of health care to the local people. To be successful, you must garner their trust and respect. And to earn that trust and respect, you must comply with their cultural outlooks and biases. Patients need to be able to concentrate on the care you are giving them – not on the way you are dressed.

Mayan Medical Aid has worked very hard over the last decade to become accepted, trusted, and credible health care providers. As such, our patients must trust our judgments, respect our opinions, and invite us into the privacy of both their homes and their heath care issues. To maintain that position of professional trust, we must dress in a professional manner.

Strong Sense of Propriety

Dress practices in your culture currently are testing the standards of casual, tacky, and sexual to the limits of propriety. Maximum skin-tight clothing, exposed underwear, and nearly limitless skin-exposure are now acceptable in almost any venue in US and European culture. But that is not the way in which the culture of the patients we serve perceives appropriate or professional dress.

As such, during your time as a guest at the Lake and as a representative of Mayan Medical Aid in the indigenous communities, we expect that you will comply with the following dress code both in the clinics and in the communities. In short, we ask that you do your best to "fit in" to the local culture and accept that your way of life and mode of dressing often is not appropriate culturally in the Lake area.

Acceptable Dress

• Skirts: ankle-length (preferred) / below the knee (mid-shin length), muted colors or black

• Pants: full-length, kahki or similar, neutral / natural colors, loose- or relaxed-fit

• Blouses: short- or long-sleeve, full coverage, muted colors, tucked-in

• Shirts: short- or long-sleeve, full-coverage, muted colors, tucked-in

• Shoes: sandals (women), open-toed (women), closed-toe (women / men), boots (men)

Unacceptable Dress

• General: no bra straps or other underwear visible –out of or beneath clothing; non-muted colors, torn or overly worn or wrinkled clothing; soiled clothing; bathing suits (except when swimming)

• Scrubs: no scrubs of any kind; scrubs are not considered to be professional dress, except in the operating or emergency room

• T-shirts: no T-shirts of any kind

• Skirts: no knee-length or above, sheer or thin or "see-through" material

• Pants: no shorts of any kind (except when participating in sports), capris (acceptable outside of clinic), tight-fit clothing with or without long tops (tights, stretch pants, etc.), jeans (acceptable outside of clinic)

• Blouses: no tank tops, camisoles, midriff visible, T-shirts, sleeveless, bikini tops • Shirts: no less than full-coverage, sleeveless, tank tops, T-shirts

• Shoes: no non-standard types (high-heels, clogs, etc.), damaged or overly worn, tennis or running or sports / athletic shoes (acceptable outside of clinic)

A Word on Tights

We realize that tights are the rage in US culture for women. Sometimes, women wear long blouses to cover their buttocks when wearing tights. Sometimes, they do not. And it appears that for some women, tights are almost the only clothing they own or wear.

Please leave your tights at home.

The wearing of tights is unacceptable in the clinics, unless they are worn under a below-the-knee skirt. Indigenous women primarily wear ankle-length skirts. Additionally, although they do not expect foreign women to copy their way of dressing, they do expect that those people who work in a professional capacity will be respectful of their sense of modesty and will dress conservatively.

¡Mil Gracias! Thank you!
Craig A. Sinkinson 2024
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