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The Integration of Culturally Responsive Care in Medical Education

Published On August 21, 2023

By: Olufisayo Atanda-Ogunleye

Every person who interacts with the health care system deserves to feel confident that they will receive quality care regardless of their identities. When serving patients with diverse identities, providers must be responsive to patients’ unique needs that may be affected by the social and cultural groups to which they belong. One way to meet these needs is by implementing culturally responsive care (CRC) in medicine, which is an effort by medical providers to acknowledge and recognize all aspects of their patient’s identities when providing care. Educating health professionals about cultural responsiveness is especially important in certain health professions where certain racial and ethnic groups are severely underrepresented, such as Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic people in the physician and mental health workforce.

Medical education is a crucial and early point for introducing the concept of culturally responsive care because physicians can better understand the concept and how to facilitate its practice. It is especially essential for physicians who practice in states that do not require CRC in continuing education modules. Unfortunately, the requirements for the CRC education of health care professionals are not typically standardized, meaning that curricula may vary significantly from school to school. There is a great need to reform how we prepare and educate physicians and other health professionals to work with people historically marginalized by the U.S. health care system. 

Check out this issue brief below, which provides a landscape of education on culturally responsive care in the health professions, highlighting gaps and opportunities for future action.