In this presentation, we present the current state of cultural diversity education for undergraduate medical students in three English-speaking countries: the U.K., United States (U.S.) and Canada. We review key documents that have shaped cultural diversity education in each country and compare and contrast current issues. The major issues that all three countries face include a lack of conceptual clarity, and fragmented and variable programs to teach cultural diversity. Faculty and staff support, and development and ambivalence from both staff and students continue to be a challenge. We suggest that greater international collaboration may help provide some solutions.
Conceptual clarity: In all three countries, medical schools can determine their own pedagogical methods, formats and structure for cultural diversity education. Very rarely is the philosophy explicit. This means that it is difficult to compare curricula and to effectively measure change or progress. We suggest how this might be overcome. We believe that all three countries would benefit from effective leadership and clarity as to how terms of cultural diversity are defined and used in medical school curricula. We will discuss with the audience as to how this might be achieved.
Curricula issues: In all three countries there has been a tendency to focus on teaching about different or “other” cultures and less focus on becoming aware of one’s own biases and prejudices which might influence adversely on care provided. The dominant discourse is still about students gaining “expertise” about other cultures and wanting certainty where it may not exist. We present some curricular guidelines and information on relevant appropriate resources.
Faculty and Staff Development: Generally staff in this area feel unsupported. We suggest that some of these issues may be addressed by developing a corporate environment which would integrate cultural diversity with strategic plans across the entire academic programmes, research, practice and policies in the presence of available budgetary resources.
Student issues: There continues to be ambivalence about the necessity of cultural competence training with students citing that they belong to multicultural communities or come from a minority background. We suggest how we might achieve consistency between what students are taught in the classroom and what they witness in practice.
We use our joint experience to try and draw out solutions for how the challenges which are similar across the three counteries might be met. The workshop draws on the presenter experience and also that of the audience.
The workshop will have relevance for postgraduate educators in diversity as there is evidence that the struggles in undergraduate and postgraduate education are similar.
Presentation Information:Program: Main Conference Oral Presentations (concurrent workshops and peer-to-peers)
Primary Category: Cultural Competence Training
Subtopics: Assessing learning/performance on cultural competence/disparity reduction, Health professions school programs, Curricula development
Region Addressed by Presentation: International
Organization: Health Professions School