Medical educators to improve 'cultural training' for trainee doctors

Posted by ap507 at Nov 28, 2014 10:30 AM |
Initiative springs from widespread migration across Europe

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 28 November

  • Medical workforce ‘largely unprepared’ for migration within and from outside Europe
  • Aim is to equip medical students with skills to make them better doctors
  • Leicester to lead on development of online module
  • Europe wide consortium meets at University of Leicester on Dec 1-2

“The key aim of this project is to ensure that staff teaching medical students - both doctors and other staff - are aware of their own identities and views on the subject as this can influence what and how they teach medical students about diversity.”

-      Professor Nisha Dogra, University of Leicester

Medical students are to receive training in how to become ‘culturally competent’ as part of the medical curriculum as a consequence of widespread migration across Europe.

Members of a Europe-wide initiative to equip medical students and their educators with cultural skills – alongside lifesaving ones – will converge on the University of Leicester next month.

Culturally Competent in Medical Education (C2ME): assessing teachers’ training needs is a consortium involving 14 partners across 11 countries including the University of Leicester. Leicester is the only university in England that is in the consortium and is privileged to hold the project midterm meeting. 

The consortium meeting take place at the University of Leicester from December 1-2.

Consortium member Professor Nisha Dogra,  Professor of psychiatry education at the University of Leicester,  said: “Migration within and from outside of Europe results in increasing social and cultural diversity and is now found in most Western cities. However, the medical workforce is largely unprepared so whilst culturally competent curricula are needed in medical education, medical teachers are insufficiently trained. As a result they may fail to understand the importance of addressing culture in medical education, develop weak education programmes, and lack the skills to deal with student diversity.

“Ensuring high quality, patient-centered health care for socially, culturally and linguistically diverse populations is challenging, and requires that physicians acquire specific knowledge, attitudes and skills that are commonly referred to as “cultural competence”."

Professor Dogra said key challenges are how to overcome learner resistance, how to sustainably integrate cultural diversity in health and illness in medical education, and how to develop a curriculum that fosters students’ awareness of their own culture without promoting cultural stereotypes.

She said: “This project is important as it ensures that medical students are appropriately trained to deliver high quality clinical care to diverse populations and that they are able to recognise and address various issues that may arise during the consultation process.

“We aim to develop policies and strategies to facilitate the integration of cultural competence learning objectives across the undergraduate medical curriculum by identifying and addressing the training needs of medical teachers.

“The training of teachers also helps teachers manage diversity in the classroom ensuring that the differing needs of students are met.”

Professor Dogra developed an innovative programme to teach medical students about cultural diversity in 1997 and since then she has been involved in educational developments in this field both national and internationally. Professor Dogra was one of the founders of the Diversity in Medicine and Health (DIMAH) group and is the current chair.

This group has members from across the UK and has as its remit:

  • Clearly define diversity and diversity education and also what it is not ;
  • Support curriculum development – this includes an outline "curriculum" with  guidance for identifying  aims and learning outcomes for diversity education, and how these will be delivered and assessed.
  • Develop resources for staff teaching diversity through establishing a network of interested individuals and organisations nationally and internationally to share practice and a website (

Professor Dogra said that C2ME is a European wide study on cultural competence in medical education: “A Delphi study was undertaken to establish the core competencies experts think are required of teachers and the next stage is to explore the preparedness of medical teachers to teach cultural competence topics and identify their training needs. We will then develop specific training which will be piloted, evaluated and refined. Staff at Leicester will be leading the development of the on line module.

“The key aim of this project is to ensure that staff teaching medical students - both doctors and other staff - are aware of their own identities and views on the subject as this can influence what and how they teach medical students about diversity.

“The project should feed into curricula across Europe. Leicester will certainly have the opportunity to try out the material produced to support teachers and this should influence the refinement of the curriculum.”

Partners involved in the consortium are:

AMC/University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dr. Jeanine Suurmond (coordinator), Prof. Dr. Marie-Louise Essink-Bot

VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dr. Petra Verdonk

University of Leicester (UK), Prof. Dr. Nisha Dogra

University of Antwerp (Belgium), Prof. Dr. Kristin Hendrickx

University of Giessen (Germany), Dr. Michael Knipper

GEMS/University of Limerick (Ireland), Prof. Dr. Anne MacFarlane

University of Edinburgh (UK), Judith Sim

Geneva University Hospitals (Switzerland), Dr. Patricia Hudelson

University of Sevilla (Spain), Prof. Dr. Manuel Garcia-Ramirez

University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Prof. Dr. Allan Krasnik

University of Pécs (Hungary), Prof. Dr. Istvan Szilard

NAKMI (Norway), Dr. Bernadette Kumar

University of Maryland (US), Dr. Olivia Carter-Pokras


C2ME is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union



Professor Nisha Dogra

Professor of psychiatry education

and honorary consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry

Greenwood Institute of Child Health

University of Leicester


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