Cultural Competency in Emergency Medicine

Teaching cultural competency with an emphasis on Latino culture in order to better prepare emergency physicians to care for Latino patients in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Cultural Competency in Emergency Medicine: Latino culturePrincipal Investigator:Edward P. Callahan, MD, MS, Emergency MedicineCo-Investigator:Dawn S. Bragg, PhD, Academic AffairsAward Amount:$117,245
Award Date
July2007
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


Cultural competency has become an increasingly important part of medical education, particularly after the Institute of Medicine's landmark publication "Unequal Treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare" in 2002. Medical schools are now required to teach cultural competency, but to what extent this is taught and how it is evaluated remains up to the individual institutions.

The emergency department, and emergency medicine residency programs, have a unique role in the health care and medical management of diverse populations, as a disproportionate number of minorities use the emergency department and emergency medicine providers are alone in their position to provide care for everyone regardless of their social, financial, or ethnic background. Therefore, it is imperative that emergency medicine residents are trained in strategies to eliminate the disparities found in the management of health care for these diverse populations, particularly the Latino population as it is the fastest growing minority group in the United States.

Through this award, the Medical College of Wisconsin will develop a two-year curriculum aimed at teaching cultural competency with an emphasis on Latino culture in order to better prepare emergency physicians to care for Latino patients in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Designed and piloted a two-year curriculum consisting of seven modules that include new teaching formats that incorporate video and small group opportunities with the inclusion of Latino health care providers and patients. Sessions aimed to develop strategies for effective communication with patients who are Latino, understanding the barriers to health care experience by Latinos, and sharing learned skills from emergency physicians in the every day care of Latinos

• Established relationship with the National Hispanic Medical Association for consultation

• Developed relationship with the Waukesha Family Medicine program and its affiliated community clinic to broaden the impact and reach outside of Milwaukee. Partners continue to explore additional relationships with Latino-based clinics and community centers

• Disseminated lessons learned and project results through poster presentations

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