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Cultural competence is a critical component in health care services. The relationship between health disparities and prejudice and discrimination is well documented. Prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior are modifiable through training yet few programs have evidence-based training. No published data has reported on baseline levels of cultural competencies in medical trainees which is necessary for tailoring programs appropriate to the audience. This manuscript fills that gap by reporting on data from three cohorts of first-year Physician Assistant (PA) students (N = 216). We examined students’ baseline levels with special attention to differences in cultural competence constructs across age, gender, and ethnicity.
Students completed self-report measures for ethnic identity, ethno-cultural empathy, multicultural orientation, attitudes about diversity, health beliefs attitudes, colorblind racial attitudes, and burnout at the beginning of their first year. They completed the measures online (Qualtrics) during class time, prior to a lecture on cultural competence.
Data indicate a correlation between cultural competence constructs supporting the validity of the battery of tests as a cohesive unit to measure cultural competence. There were statistically significant differences between age, gender identity, and ethnic groups across cultural competence variables.
Data provide baseline data that may be used to tailor educational programs. Findings suggest that our measures show promise for future educational research measuring effectiveness of cultural competence training.
Domenech Rodrı´guez MM, Phelps PB, Tarp HC (2019) Baseline cultural competence in physician assistant students. PLoS ONE 14(4): e0215910. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215910