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Acad Med. 2002 Mar;77(3):193-7.

Integrating social factors into cross-cultural medical education.

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1
Cornell Internal Medicine Associates, New York, NY 10021, USA. alexgreen@pol.net

Abstract

The field of cross-cultural medical education has blossomed in an environment of increasing diversity and increasing awareness of the effect of race and ethnicity on health outcomes. However, there is still no standardized approach to teaching doctors in training how best to care for diverse patient populations. As standards are developed, it is crucial to realize that medical educators cannot teach about culture in a vacuum. Caring for patients of diverse cultural backgrounds is inextricably linked to caring for patients of diverse social backgrounds. In this article, the authors discuss the importance of social issues in caring for patients of all cultures, and propose a practical, patient-based approach to social analysis covering four major domains--(1) social stress and support networks, (2) change in environment, (3) life control, and (4) literacy. By emphasizing and expanding the role of the social history in cross-cultural medical education, faculty can better train medical students, residents, and other health care providers to care for socioculturally diverse patient populations.

PMID:
11891153
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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