Cultural Awareness

We strive to provide a medical school curriculum dedicated to fostering cultural awareness.

Our goal is to integrate cross-cultural care throughout the four years of medical school and to provide a pragmatic approach for training residents, fellows and faculty in culturally aware health care.

To do this, we plan our curriculum around:

  • Formal lectures
  • Informal discussions
  • Case-based approaches

An interdisciplinary curriculum

The goals of our interdisciplinary curriculum are aligned with those developed by the Society of General Internal Medicine Health Disparities Task Force, which states learners should:

  1. Gain knowledge of the existence and magnitude of health disparities, including their multifactorial etiology and the multiple solutions required to eliminate them
  2. Examine and understand the potential for mistrust, subconscious bias and stereotyping that practitioners, patients or both may bring to the clinical encounter
  3. Acquire the skills to effectively communicate and negotiate across cultures, including trust-building and timely utilization of culturally appropriate interpreter services
  4. Develop a commitment to reduce health disparities, particularly those caused by disparate health care

Influencing medical professionals

Watch how the Office of Diversity Programs is influencing medical professionals by demonstrating the importance of providing culturally aware, equitable and compassionate care for all:

Opportunities to implement cultural competence

  • First-year medical student diversity retreat: Provides case-based approaches and experiential activities to enhance awareness of cultural competent health practices.
  • Diversity week: Provides discussion on topics that span the continuum of diversity and public health, including race, religion, sexual preferences, immigrant health and rural medicine.
  • Practice of Medicine: A two-year course for pre-clinical students. Highlights include training in cross-cultural communication and addressing health literacy through physical history and examinations, critiqued by model patients.
  • Case-based presentations, grand rounds, journal clubs and discussions: These are tailored to clinical departments across the medical center, including new faculty orientation.
  • Barnes-Jewish Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence: This center provides educational sessions using video teaching tools to explore unconscious biases and stereotyping and increase cross-cultural preparedness among medical trainees, faculty and staff.
  • Diversity and inclusion training: Group-based training for departments, programs and other business units. Diversity and inclusion leaders from Human Resources provide a series of four, one-hour training sessions on the fundamentals of diversity education.