Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"Cultural Competency" courses required for N.J. medical licensure

The April 24, 2005 issue of American Medical News reports that New Jersey has passed a law requiring "cultural competency training" to be licensed to practice medicine.Details of the training are yet to be determined by the State Board of Medical Examiners.Often the devil is in the details, but here we have enough devil by the proposal and passage of the law itself. The N.J. legislator who proposed the bill said it "was the first step in eliminating disparities in medical care among minority groups." It was not explained how doctors receiving lectures or handouts will accomplish that goal.From the reactions of medical school representative and the Medical society's president,we get a glimpse of a town-gown gap.The VP of NJ's med school said "the new law has the potential of actually working".I have no idea of what actually working might mean in this context. The president of the med society said, " You really don't teach people cultural competency in a classroom learn it in the lap of your grandmother".I found the content of a cultural competency program on the AMSA website to be very much like what is found in "diversity" training programs that virtually all large corporations have bought into.

1 comment:

Mudfud said...

We actually have cultural competency classes thrown into our general clinical foundations of medicine course. I can sum up the training quite succinctly:
Everyone is different. What you might think about death/treatment/communication/whatever is not necessarily what your patient thinks. Ask the patient/patient's family what their cultural views are, and respect them the best you can.