May 1, 2001

Cultural Immersion in a Cultural Competency Curriculum


Objective: Cultural competency is becoming increasingly important nationally. During recent seminars held throughout Hawai’i on Native Hawaiian health, several questions were raised related to cultural competency. First, can providers’ cultural competency improve the poor health status of Native Hawaiians? Second, how can Native Hawaiian physicians, who are trained in Western medicine and Western ways of thinking, bridge the gap that exists between them and traditional Native Hawaiian approaches to health and healing? The purpose of this curriculum was to teach community physicians how to become more culturally competent and to see whether adding an intense cultural immersion experience would increase the success of the curriculum.

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