, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 1116-1120

A prescription for cultural competence in medical education

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Cultural competence programs have proliferated in U.S. medical schools in response to increasing national diversity, as well as mandates from accrediting bodies. Although such training programs share common goals of improving physician-patient communication and reducing health disparities, they often differ in their content, emphasis, setting, and duration. Moreover, training in cross-cultural medicine may be absent from students’ clinical rotations, when it might be most relevant and memorable. In this article, the authors recommend a number of elements to strengthen cultural competency education in medical schools. This “prescription for cultural competence” is intended to promote an active and integrated approach to multicultural issues throughout medical school training.

Dr. Kripalani is currently funded by a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23 HL077597) and previously received support from the Emory Mentored Clinical Research Scholars Program (NIH/NCRR K12 RR017643) while writing this manuscript. A portion of this paper was presented at a meeting of the Southern Anthropological Society in March 2004.