Press "Enter" to skip to content

The case for culture classes in the healthcare curriculum

Should a class, or several classes involving the learning of cultural respect, be obligatory in the healthcare curriculum? I personally think yes, they should be. 

One of the most prominent issues that is faced in the healthcare industry is cultural incompetency and blatant disrespect. Creating a curriculum that includes sensitivity and awareness training could make more people aware of certain issues found within the healthcare industry. Requiring healthcare professionals to take cultural respect classes may help decrease how often these issues occur. Cultural competency classes would teach ethics, such as cultural respect, which is vital to lessening healthcare disparities. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, cultural respect is the combination of a body of knowledge, beliefs and behavior. It encompasses components that are often specific to ethnic, racial, religious, geographic, or social groups, including but not limited to things such as language, thoughts, actions, beliefs, communications, institutions, and personal identification.

Having this respect is important as it enables healthcare professionals to provide respectful and culturally appropriate services. Cultural respect allows care to be provided that is responsive to the necessary level of care for each individual patient. 

These courses could be arranged very similarly to an ethics course. Topics such as biases, stereotyping, self-awareness, and cross-cultural communication would be introduced, which would, in turn, be beneficial in future situations.

Until these courses are required, some options exist to increase your knowledge of cultural respect. Take it upon yourself to learn about other cultures and the biases that arise, as many of our biases are unconscious, practice active listening and learn as much as possible about other cultures from reputable sources. 

All of these things can take you one step further toward cultural competency in the healthcare field. There are tons of culturally oriented classes offered, as well as a multitude of multicultural clubs on campus and resources offered by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Don’t be afraid to join a few!

Get the Maine Campus' weekly highlights right to your inbox!
Email address
First Name
Last Name
Secure and Spam free...