The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5129.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 1:18 PM

Abstract #64884

Improving cutural competence among future physicians through experiential learning: The Family Van model

Alba N. Cruz, PhD, MPH1, Toni K. Williams, BS1, Rainelle Walker-White1, Nancy E. Oriol, MD2, Linda Clayton, MD, MPH1, and Michael Byrd, MD, MPH1. (1) The Family Van Program, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, 25 Shattuck Street, Suite 306, Boston, MA 02115, 617-432-4540,, (2) Office of Student Affairs, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115

Our nation is becoming increasingly diverse. This increased diversity warrants ensuring cultural competence in health care delivery in order to maintain quality, cost effective, clinically appropriate, and efficient healthcare. Many medical schools are incorporating cultural competence into their curriculums. However, some curriculums lack a context for understanding the social, economic, environmental and historical issues affecting the health of underserved communities. The Family Van, a mobile health services program of the Harvard Medical School affords medical students with a unique opportunity to develop an awareness of cultural diversity and improve their cultural competence through experiential learning. This training specifically offers medical students 1} increased understanding of the health care system from the perspective of vulnerable populations; 2} experience in community health assessment and program development; and 3} enhanced knowledge of the social/economic determinants of health and the factors that lead to barriers in health care access and patient compliance. This presentation will provide an overview of the Family Van Model and this innovative faculty-guided experiential approach to engendering cultural competence. It will improve understanding of the effectiveness of experiential learning in teaching cultural competence for health professionals. It will demonstrate this effectiveness by highlighting model health programs that have been developed and implemented by medical students as a result of this increased cultural competency. Finally, the presentation will increase knowledge of key components of experiential cultural competency training for health professionals including, guided study; direct service delivery; and exposure to community health centers, community based organizations, and selected communities.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The Family Van at Harvard Medical School Boston, MA
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: I am employed as the Executive Director of the Family Van

Handout (.ppt format, 3085.5 kb)

The Importance of Cultural Competency in the Classroom and in Healthcare

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA