As in the nation, health disparities undercut the health and well-being of the multicultural populations of West Texas and the Texas-Mexico Border. Improving the cultural competence of health care providers is critical for spanning the fault lines of the health care divide: enthnicity and acculturation;socioeconomic status;health belief systems;language and intercultural communication;and provider skills, to name but a few. The Patient-Centered Cultural Competence Curriculum proposed by the Texas Tech Univeristy Health Sciences Center School of Medicine (TTUHSC-SOM) will develop and implement curricular activities and training programs to enhance the cultural competence of medical students, residents, faculty and community physicians, and health care professionals to better address the needs and health outcomes of the West Texas and Border populations.
The specific aims of the Texas Tech Cultural Competence Curriculum are to: (1) to develop and implement a patient-centered community-based Cultural Competence Curriculum;(2) to improve the cultural competence of faculty, practicing physicians, and allied disciplines in West Texas through a new Cultural Competence Faculty Development and Continuing Medical Education Program;and (3) to disseminate curricular activities, project evaluation reports, and scholarship on the impact of the Cultural Competence Curriculum to West Texans, the NHBLI Coordinating Centers, and the national medical education community through a Cultural Competence Education Network and website, two symposia on Measuring Cultural Competence in Medical Education, and Project publications. An interdisciplinary Health Disparities Project Team will develop curricular activities targeting cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematological, and sleep disorders with known health disparities in our region-hypertension, asthma, sickle cell anemia, and obesity/sleep disorders. A Health Disparities Advisory Board will help anchor this curriculum to new knowledge about health disparities from the ultimate arbiters of culturally competent care, the patients and the community. This Curriculum will be embedded in the first new undergraduate program at the TTUHSCSOM in 30 years. The Curriculum features a variety of learning exercises in all 4 years, such as taking patient life histories in the community, learning medical Spanish, serving as patient navigators, and analyzing cases of cultural mismatch or health inequities. An intensive Project evaluation program is planned.