Turning cross-cultural medical education on its head

Turning cross-cultural medical education on its head: Learning about ourselves and developing respectful curiosity

Author: Bansal, Aarti

Cross-cultural education is often understood to mean acquiring cultural knowledge about different cultural groups in order to serve people from diverse groups equitably. However, this article argues that to work effectively in cross-cultural situations, we need to learn about our own culture and develop an approach of respectful curiosity. The first goal of cross-cultural education is to understand how culture influences our thoughts, perceptions, biases, and values at an unconscious level. The second goal is to understand the nature of individual cultural identity as a multidimensional and dynamic construct through exploration of our own cultural identity. This exploration helps us understand the limitations of learning about ‘others’ through learning categorical information and helps us limit the effect of our implicit biases on our interactions. The approach of respectful curiosity is recommended to question our assumptions, understand each unique individual patient, connect with each patient, and build the therapeutic relationship.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15212/FMCH.2016.0109