Cultural Resources for Health Professionals

Geriatric Medicine

The Department of Geriatric Medicine’s goal is to develop knowledge, attitudes, and skills that enable effective delivery of care in diverse cross-cultural settings with improved outcomes. Ethnogeriatrics and cultural competency is taught to all levels of learners, including medical students, residents, fellows, practicing physicians, and allied health students and faculty. Several innovative curricula have been developed. In addition, there have been several research projects in ethnic minority populations, where cultural factors play a key role. This includes the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program and Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study.

From "Towards Cultural Competency in End of Life Communication Training" by Dr. Karen T. Lubimir and Dr. Aida B Wen:

In the authors' review of the literature, while many academic medical institutions have recognized the need for cultural competency training, with successful integration into the first two years of their curriculum, the incorporation and application of such training during the clinical clerkship years is rare...Frequently, medical schools apply “categorical” teaching methods about race and ethnicity, providing information on common practices and beliefs of distinct cultural groups, eg, Asians, Hispanics, or African Americans. However, this factual knowledge is not adequate, and may ultimately result in delivery of disparate health care unless individual preferences are taken into account. Thus the new standard of cultural competence education is that training should focus on cultural sensitivity and humility in patient communication.


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