But the latest study, to be published in the journal Academic Medicine online May 25, still falls short of showing any direct link between such training and the improvements in health of cultural and racial minorities.
"Far more rigorous testing is needed to prove that the training does more than just facilitate better interactions between caregivers and patients," says study co-lead investigator Eboni Price, M.D., M.P.H., a senior clinical research fellow in the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The Hopkins analyses are believed to be the first detailed review of steps taken by academic medical institutions to address cultural differences with patients, since a series of national reports from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) brought about mandatory cultural competency training of health professionals in 2004. The IOM reports called for training as a key tool in reducing racial disparities in health status between minorities and whites.
"Communicating with a physician or nurse from a different ethnic background, someone with different traditions or who speaks a different language, is a growing fact of life for many Americans," says study co-lead investigator and internal medicine specialist Mary Catherine Beach, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of medicine, and health policy and management at Hopkins' Welch Center, School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. "While more than one quarter of the general population is from black, Hispanic or Asian descent, the vast majority of p
Contact: David March
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions