Applying theory to the design of cultural competency training for medical students: a case study

Acad Med. 2003 Jun;78(6):588-94. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200306000-00007.


Although literature suggests that providing culturally sensitive care promotes positive health outcomes for patients, undergraduate medical education currently does not provide adequate cultural competency training. At most schools, cultural competency, as a formal, integrated, and longitudinal thread within the overall curriculum, is still in its infancy. In this article, the authors summarize the current practice of cultural competency training within medical education and describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of a theoretically based, year-long cultural competency training course for second-year students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Evaluation of the results indicate that the course was successful in improving knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to cultural competence as well as bringing about positive changes in the medical school's approach to cultural competency training. Also discussed are the implications of the outcomes for the development of culturally competent physicians and how using appropriate theory can help achieve desired outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Health Planning / methods
  • Humans
  • North Carolina
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation / methods
  • Teaching / methods