Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 1953–1958

Personal Characteristics Associated with Resident Physicians’ Self Perceptions of Preparedness to Deliver Cross-Cultural Care

  • Lenny Lopez
  • Ana-Maria Vranceanu
  • Amy P. Cohen
  • Joseph Betancourt
  • Joel S. Weissman
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-008-0782-y

Cite this article as:
Lopez, L., Vranceanu, AM., Cohen, A.P. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2008) 23: 1953. doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0782-y



Recent reports from the Institute of Medicine emphasize patient-centered care and cross-cultural training as a means of improving the quality of medical care and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities.


To determine whether, controlling for training received in medical school or during residency, resident physician socio-cultural characteristics influence self-perceived preparedness and skill in delivering cross-cultural care.


National survey of resident physicians.


A probability sample of residents in seven specialties in their final year of training at US academic health centers.


Nine resident characteristics were analyzed. Differences in preparedness and skill were assessed using the χ2 statistic and multivariate logistic regression.


Fifty-eight percent (2047/3500) of residents responded. The most important factor associated with improved perceived skill level in performing selected tasks or services believed to be useful in treating culturally diverse patients was having received cross-cultural skills training during residency (OR range 1.71–4.22). Compared with white residents, African American physicians felt more prepared to deal with patients with distrust in the US healthcare system (OR 1.63) and with racial or ethnic minorities (OR 1.61), Latinos reported feeling more prepared to deal with new immigrants (OR 1.88) and Asians reported feeling more prepared to deal with patients with health beliefs at odds with Western medicine (1.43).


Cross-cultural care skills training is associated with increased self-perceived preparedness to care for diverse patient populations providing support for the importance of such training in graduate medical education. In addition, selected resident characteristics are associated with being more or less prepared for different aspects of cross-cultural care. This underscores the need to both include medical residents from diverse backgrounds in all training programs and tailor such programs to individual resident needs in order to maximize the chances that such training is likely to have an impact on the quality of care.


cross-cultural care graduate medical education workforce diversity 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenny Lopez
    • 1
    • 4
    • 6
  • Ana-Maria Vranceanu
    • 3
  • Amy P. Cohen
    • 5
  • Joseph Betancourt
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joel S. Weissman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute for Health Policy and Department of MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital; Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Behavioral Medicine and Orthopedics Hand and Upper Extremity ServicesMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.The Disparities Solutions CenterMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Institute of Health PolicyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  7. 7.Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human ServicesBostonUSA

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