Refugees and medical student training: Results of a programme in primary care

Kim Griswold, Joan B. Kernan, Timothy J. Servoss, Frances G. Saad, Christine M. Wagner, Luis E. Zayas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Context: Medical schools have responded to the increasing diversity of the population of the USA by incorporating cultural competency training into their curricula. This paper presents results from pre- and post-programme surveys of medical students who participated in a training programme that included evening clinical sessions for refugee patients and related educational workshops. Methods: A self-assessment survey was administered at the beginning and end of the academic year to measure the cultural awareness of participating medical students. Results: Over the 3 years of the programme, over 133 students participated and 95 (73%) completed pre- and post-programme surveys. Participants rated themselves significantly higher in all 3 domains of the cultural awareness survey after completion of the programme. Conclusions: The opportunity for medical students to work with refugees in the provision of health care presents many opportunities for students, including lessons in communication, and scope to learn about other cultures and practise basic health care skills. An important issue to consider is the power differential between those working in medicine and patients who are refugees. To avoid reinforcing stereotypes, medical programmes and medical school curricula can incorporate efforts to promote reflection on provider attitudes, beliefs and biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalMedical education
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • *cultural diversity
  • *education, medical, undergraduate
  • *refugees
  • Physician-patient relations
  • Primary health care
  • Professional competence
  • Students, psychology/*psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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