Teaching culturally appropriate care: a review of educational models and methods

Acad Emerg Med. 2006 Dec;13(12):1288-95. doi: 10.1197/j.aem.2006.07.031.


The disparities in health care and health outcomes between the majority population and cultural and racial minorities in the United States are a problem that likely is influenced by the lack of culturally competent care. Emergency medicine and other primary-care specialties remain on the front lines of this struggle because of the nature of their open-door practice. To provide culturally appropriate care, health care providers must recognize the factors impeding cultural awareness, seek to understand the biases and traditions in medical education potentially fueling this phenomenon, and create a health care community that is open to individuals' otherness, thus leading to better communication of ideas and information between patients and their health care providers. This article highlights the rationale for and current problems in teaching cultural competency and examines several different models implemented to teach and promote cultural competency along the continuum of emergency medicine learners. However, the literature addressing the true efficacy of such programs in leading to long-lasting change and improvement in minority patients' clinical outcomes remains insufficient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational*
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, U.S., Health and Medicine Division
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Racial Groups
  • Teaching / methods*
  • United States