Can we assess students' awareness of cultural diversity? A qualitative study of stakeholders' views

Nisha Dogra, Val Wass

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Context: Personal attitudes of doctors towards cultural diversity may influence the delivery of clinical care. Yet whether medical schools should assess a student's cultural awareness and if so, how, has not been specifically debated. Objective: To establish the views of key stakeholders in medical education on the assessment of awareness of cultural diversity within the undergraduate curriculum. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken, using sampling and snowballing, with 61 stakeholders, including policymakers, teachers of diversity, students, service users and carers. The data were analysed qualitatively using quasi-statistical and template approaches and themes identified. Results: Three main themes emerged. The first was ambivalence over the need to assess students. Most felt students should be assessed to ensure the subject was taken seriously. Some were concerned that assessment might encourage false attitudes. The second theme was uncertainty over the best methodology. Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) were the most favoured method. Significant concern was expressed that this alone was sufficient. The third theme was concern that current assessment methods do not identify students with inappropriate attitudes that are potentially detrimental to patient care. Conclusions: Assessment of cultural awareness should be attempted but it needs to be multifaceted. The OSCE alone is inadequate. Other tools, such as reflective portfolios, need evaluation. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2006.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)682-690
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedical education
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


    • *cultural diversity
    • Attitude of health personnel
    • Awareness
    • Curriculum
    • Education, medical, undergraduate/*organisation & administration
    • Humans
    • Students, medical/*psychology
    • Teaching methods


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