Development and assessment of a cultural competency curriculum

Elizabeth S Pilcher, Laurine T Charles, Carol J Lancaster
Journal of Dental Education 2008, 72 (9): 1020-8
The recent intense attention given to the existence of racial and ethnic health care disparities in the United States has resulted in an enhanced focus on the problem and a call to integrate cultural competence training into health professions curricula. While most dental schools have formally integrated cultural competence into their curricula, the professional literature contains little information regarding the specific types of curriculum modifications necessary to prepare culturally competent dentists. The purpose of this article is to communicate the process and materials used to develop and present didactic curriculum content incorporating cultural competence and to report early data regarding its effectiveness in improving students' knowledge and self-awareness regarding cultural competence. The preliminary observation of differences between pre-test and post-test scores suggests that the curriculum content may have contributed to developing students' cultural knowledge and self-awareness. Students' reflection papers also provided qualitative evidence that experience with the curriculum modules was transformational for some. Recommendations for future curriculum modifications and follow-up research studies to validate the instrument are discussed.

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