Integrating cultural humility into health care professional education and training

Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2012 May;17(2):269-78. doi: 10.1007/s10459-010-9264-1. Epub 2010 Dec 16.


As US populations become increasing diverse, healthcare professionals are facing a heightened challenge to provide cross-cultural care. To date, medical education around the world has developed specific curricula on cultural competence training in acknowledgement of the importance of culturally sensitive and grounded services. This article proposes to move forward by integrating the concept of cultural humility into current trainings, in which we believe, is vital in complementing the current model, and better prepare future professionals to address health challenges with culturally appropriate care. Based on the works of Chinese philosophers, cultural values and the contemporary Chinese immigrants' experience, we hereby present the QIAN (Humbleness) curriculum: the importance of self-Questioning and critique, bi-directional cultural Immersion, mutually Active-listening, and the flexibility of Negotiation. The principles of the QIAN curriculum reside not only between the patient and the healthcare professional dyad, but also elicit the necessary support of family, health care system as well as the community at large. The QIAN curriculum could improve practice and enhance the exploration, comprehension and appreciation of the cultural orientations between healthcare professionals and patients which ultimately could improve patient satisfaction, patient-healthcare professional relationship, medical adherence and the reduction of health disparities. QIAN model is highly adaptable to other cultural and ethnic groups in multicultural societies around the globe. Incorporating its framework into the current medical education may enhance cross-cultural clinical encounters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • China / ethnology
  • Communication
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Culture
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Self Concept*
  • United States