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ScientificWorldJournal. 2006 Jul 6;6:2170-6.

Cross-cultural medicine in the Middle East at the start of the 21st century: where East and West meet.

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  • 1Clalit Health Services, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


The "global village" has resulted in the need to tackle cross-cultural issues in the medical school curriculum. The southern region of Israel (the Negev) provides a unique opportunity to study the interaction between medicine and culture. The Negev population is a multicultural society, with Bedouin Arabs comprising almost a fifth of its population. This imposes tremendous challenges to the medical establishment in the region and serves as a "cross-cultural laboratory" for educating medical students in global health issues. Both the traditional Israeli medical school track, as well as the newly established Medical School for International Medicine, incorporate studies of cross-cultural issues in various forms and to different degrees. Studies suggest that the exposure of students to international medical experiences increases their cross-cultural sensitivity and knowledge. We feel that in a region characterized by such ethnic diversity, all medical schools should adopt cross-cultural studies as an integral part of their curriculum.

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