Enhancing cultural awareness education for undergraduate medical students: Initial findings from a unique cultural immersion activity

Sally Sargeant, Janie Dade Smith, Shannon Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Cultural awareness education is mandatory for medical programs, with particular emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. However, there is limited evidence to measure the impact of such education has on medical students.

 Aims This paper presents the development and delivery of a cultural immersion activity for first year undergraduate medical students. Additionally we explore how this type of activity may improve attitudes, comprehension and perceived competence relating to working with and understanding people of different cultures. 

Methods A pre- and post-survey design was utilised in connection with a cultural immersion activity. First year medical students (N=284, responses 196, 69 per cent) from three cohorts (2012–2014 inclusive) voluntarily completed a cultural awareness questionnaire, which contained items that related to perceptions, personal characteristics and educational competence. The main outcome measures were changes in perceived cultural knowledge, awareness, beliefs and attitudes. Data were analysed using principal component analysis and obtained means comparison. Results Principal component analysis revealed five dimensions for pre-post comparison: Knowledge Acquisition, Perceptions of Role Modelling, Internal Beliefs and Reflections, Personality Variables and Institutional Influences. Non-parametric means comparison showed increased ratings for knowledge acquisition and institutional influences (p<0.001), whilst a decline was noted for the personality variables (p<0.05). 

Conclusion Cultural immersion has great potential to elicit positive shifts in attitudinal and knowledge related aspects of cultural awareness at early stages in medical curricula. Negative directions also suggest that students question their beliefs and behaviours relating to cultural knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Medical Journal
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Immersion
Medical Students
Education
Principal Component Analysis
Mental Competency
Personality
Mandatory Programs
Curriculum
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Students
Health
Surveys and Questionnaires

Cite this

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title = "Enhancing cultural awareness education for undergraduate medical students: Initial findings from a unique cultural immersion activity",
abstract = "Background Cultural awareness education is mandatory for medical programs, with particular emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. However, there is limited evidence to measure the impact of such education has on medical students. Aims This paper presents the development and delivery of a cultural immersion activity for first year undergraduate medical students. Additionally we explore how this type of activity may improve attitudes, comprehension and perceived competence relating to working with and understanding people of different cultures. Methods A pre- and post-survey design was utilised in connection with a cultural immersion activity. First year medical students (N=284, responses 196, 69 per cent) from three cohorts (2012–2014 inclusive) voluntarily completed a cultural awareness questionnaire, which contained items that related to perceptions, personal characteristics and educational competence. The main outcome measures were changes in perceived cultural knowledge, awareness, beliefs and attitudes. Data were analysed using principal component analysis and obtained means comparison. Results Principal component analysis revealed five dimensions for pre-post comparison: Knowledge Acquisition, Perceptions of Role Modelling, Internal Beliefs and Reflections, Personality Variables and Institutional Influences. Non-parametric means comparison showed increased ratings for knowledge acquisition and institutional influences (p<0.001), whilst a decline was noted for the personality variables (p<0.05). Conclusion Cultural immersion has great potential to elicit positive shifts in attitudinal and knowledge related aspects of cultural awareness at early stages in medical curricula. Negative directions also suggest that students question their beliefs and behaviours relating to cultural knowledge.",
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Enhancing cultural awareness education for undergraduate medical students : Initial findings from a unique cultural immersion activity. / Sargeant, Sally; Smith, Janie Dade; Springer, Shannon.

In: Australasian Medical Journal, Vol. 9, No. 7, 2016, p. 224-230.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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N2 - Background Cultural awareness education is mandatory for medical programs, with particular emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. However, there is limited evidence to measure the impact of such education has on medical students. Aims This paper presents the development and delivery of a cultural immersion activity for first year undergraduate medical students. Additionally we explore how this type of activity may improve attitudes, comprehension and perceived competence relating to working with and understanding people of different cultures. Methods A pre- and post-survey design was utilised in connection with a cultural immersion activity. First year medical students (N=284, responses 196, 69 per cent) from three cohorts (2012–2014 inclusive) voluntarily completed a cultural awareness questionnaire, which contained items that related to perceptions, personal characteristics and educational competence. The main outcome measures were changes in perceived cultural knowledge, awareness, beliefs and attitudes. Data were analysed using principal component analysis and obtained means comparison. Results Principal component analysis revealed five dimensions for pre-post comparison: Knowledge Acquisition, Perceptions of Role Modelling, Internal Beliefs and Reflections, Personality Variables and Institutional Influences. Non-parametric means comparison showed increased ratings for knowledge acquisition and institutional influences (p<0.001), whilst a decline was noted for the personality variables (p<0.05). Conclusion Cultural immersion has great potential to elicit positive shifts in attitudinal and knowledge related aspects of cultural awareness at early stages in medical curricula. Negative directions also suggest that students question their beliefs and behaviours relating to cultural knowledge.

AB - Background Cultural awareness education is mandatory for medical programs, with particular emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. However, there is limited evidence to measure the impact of such education has on medical students. Aims This paper presents the development and delivery of a cultural immersion activity for first year undergraduate medical students. Additionally we explore how this type of activity may improve attitudes, comprehension and perceived competence relating to working with and understanding people of different cultures. Methods A pre- and post-survey design was utilised in connection with a cultural immersion activity. First year medical students (N=284, responses 196, 69 per cent) from three cohorts (2012–2014 inclusive) voluntarily completed a cultural awareness questionnaire, which contained items that related to perceptions, personal characteristics and educational competence. The main outcome measures were changes in perceived cultural knowledge, awareness, beliefs and attitudes. Data were analysed using principal component analysis and obtained means comparison. Results Principal component analysis revealed five dimensions for pre-post comparison: Knowledge Acquisition, Perceptions of Role Modelling, Internal Beliefs and Reflections, Personality Variables and Institutional Influences. Non-parametric means comparison showed increased ratings for knowledge acquisition and institutional influences (p<0.001), whilst a decline was noted for the personality variables (p<0.05). Conclusion Cultural immersion has great potential to elicit positive shifts in attitudinal and knowledge related aspects of cultural awareness at early stages in medical curricula. Negative directions also suggest that students question their beliefs and behaviours relating to cultural knowledge.

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