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J Cancer Educ. 2016 Sep;31(3):541-6. doi: 10.1007/s13187-015-0846-8.

Resident Physicians and Cancer Health Disparities: a Survey of Attitudes, Knowledge, and Practice.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 3701 Kirby Dr., Suite 600, Houston, TX, 77098, USA.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, USA.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 3701 Kirby Dr., Suite 600, Houston, TX, 77098, USA.
Master Health Administration/EMHA Program, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, USA.


Workforce development initiatives designed to mitigate cancer health disparities focus primarily on oncologists rather than on primary care providers (PCPs) who could be better positioned to address the issue at the preventive and community levels. The purpose of this project was to assess primary care resident physicians' self-perceived attitudes and comfort level in addressing cancer health disparities. Resident physicians in their first- through third-year of training in family, internal, preventive/occupational medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) at three academic centers responded to a 13-question survey in the spring of 2013. Descriptive and chi-square statistics were performed to analyze responses to (1) attitudes about cross-cultural communication and understanding, (2) knowledge about sources of cancer health disparities, (3) self-reported preparedness to provide cross-cultural cancer care and skills to manage specific situations, and (4) relevance of cancer-disparity education to clinical practice. A total of 78 (70.9 %) residents responded to the survey. Twenty three (29.5 %) of the respondents felt they did not understand the socio-demographic characteristics of their patients' communities, and 20 (25.6 %) did not feel capable of discussing current cancer-related care guidelines when the patients' personal beliefs conflict with their own. Few of the relationships between residency program and location with outcome measures met the criteria for statistical significance. Family medicine residents were the most likely to report in that it was hard to interact with persons from other cultures. As PCPs will play a key role in addressing cancer health disparities, effective educational opportunities in cancer care by primary care residents are warranted.


Cancer disparities; Cross-cultural; Education; Residents

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