To explore best practices for increasing cultural competency and reducing health disparities, the authors conducted a scoping review of the existing literature.
The review was guided by 2 questions: (1) Are health care professionals and medical students learning about implicit bias, health disparities, advocacy, and the needs of diverse patient populations? (2) What educational strategies are being used to increase student and educator cultural competency? In August 2016 and July 2018, the authors searched 10 databases (including Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus) and MedEdPORTAL, respectively, using keywords related to multiple health professions and cultural competency or diversity and inclusion education and training. Publications from 2005 to August 2016 were included. Results were screened using a 2-phase process (title and abstract review followed by full-text review) to determine if articles met the inclusion or exclusion criteria.
The search identified 89 articles that specifically related to cultural competency or diversity and inclusion education and training within health care. Interventions ranged from single-day workshops to a 10-year curriculum. Eleven educational strategies used to teach cultural competency and about health disparities were identified. Many studies recommended using multiple educational strategies to develop knowledge, awareness, attitudes, and skills. Less than half of the studies reported favorable outcomes. Multiple studies highlighted the difficulty of implementing curricula without trained and knowledgeable faculty.
For the field to progress in supporting a culturally diverse patient population, comprehensive training of trainers, longitudinal evaluations of interventions, and the identification and establishment of best practices will be imperative.