Purpose: Cultural sensitivity may be especially important in the care of children, and national pediatric associations have issued policy statements promoting cultural competence in medical education. The authors conducted a national survey to investigate the current state of cultural competence teaching and learning within U.S. pediatric clerkships.
Method: The authors surveyed 125 U.S. pediatric clerkship directors concerning the presence or absence of cultural curricula, content, teaching methods, and evaluation. Question types were multiple-choice single/best answer, checklists, five-point Likert-type scales, and free-text responses.
Results: Of 100 respondents (80% response rate), most agreed or strongly agreed that teaching culturally competent care is important (91%), enhances the physician/patient/family relationship (99%), and improves patient outcomes (90%). Twenty four of 98 respondents (25%) reported cultural competence teaching. The most common teaching methods were lectures (63%), experiential learning through community activities (58%), and small-group discussions (54%). Only 14 respondents reported any curricular evaluation, the commonest methods being student surveys, clinical case presentations, and standardized patient experiences. Top factors facilitating curriculum development were culturally diverse populations of patients, students, faculty, and hospital staff, and faculty interest and expertise. Top challenges included lack of protected time for program development, funding, and faculty expertise.
Conclusions: Few U.S. pediatric clerkships currently provide cultural competence curricula. The authors' suggestions to promote cultural competence teaching include providing faculty development opportunities and developing and disseminating teaching materials and evaluation tools. Such dissemination is important to graduate physicians, who can provide culturally sensitive pediatric care to the changing U.S. population.