Medical residents' feedback on needs and acquired skills following a short course on cross-cultural competence

Alicia Bardet1, Alexander R. Green2, Sophie Paroz3, Pascal Singy4, Paul Vaucher3 and Patrick Bodenmann3

1Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

2The Disparities Solutions Centre, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA

3Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

4Department of Psychiatry, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Submitted: 29/11/2011; Accepted: 17/06/2012; Published: 18/06/2012

Int J Med Educ. 2012; 3:107-114; doi: 10.5116/ijme.4fdd.eb2c

© 2012 Alicia Bardet et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to assess short and long term changes in knowledge, attitudes, and skills among medical residents following a short course on cultural competency and to explore their perspectives on the experience.

Methods: Eighteen medical residents went through a short training programme comprised of two seminars lasting 30' and 60' respectively over two days. Three months later, we conducted three focus groups, with 17 residents to explore their thoughts, perspectives and feedback about the course. To measure changes over time, we carried out a quantitative sequential survey before the seminars, three days after, and three months later using the Multicultural Assessment Questionnaire.

Results: Residents expressed a wide variety of perspectives on the main themes related to the content of the training - culture, trialogue, stereotypes, status, epidemiology, history and geopolitics - and related to its organization - relevance, volume, timing, target audience, training tools, and working material. Using the MAQ, we observed a higher global performance score (n=16) at three days (median=38) compared to results before the training (median=33) revealing a median difference of 5.5 points (z=2.4, p=0.015). This difference was still present at three months (∆=4.5, z=2.4, p=0.018), mainly due to knowledge acquisition (∆=3) rather than attitudes (∆=0) or skills (∆=1).

Conclusions: Cross-cultural competence training not only brings awareness of multicultural issues but also helps participants understand their own cultures, perception of others and preconceived ideas. Physicians' education should however also focus on improving implementation of acquired knowledge in cross-cultural competence.