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Self and Culture Elective Syllabus

Last Updated: March 29, 2020


Self and Culture is an elective for individuals who want to explore their own and others’ ideas about culture and its role in Medicine. Culture has many implications and could never be defined in a one to three-week elective, so the goal is to assist students in understanding the importance of culture and help them understand their own perceptions and how they apply it to their role as a physician. This elective aims to promote self-awareness to enhance professional understanding and compassion for everyone. Educational objectives are broken into three time frames: Level 1 (Week 1), Level 2, and Level 3. 

Evaluation Methods

  • All modules are graded for completeness and thoroughness within the subject.
  • All modules are pass/fail.
  • If an assignment is not completed fully, the course director will require the student to fix and resubmit.
  • The final Course Reflection & Review Module (CRR) is due once all assignments have been completed. 

Upon the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe their culture
  • Reflect on how their individual worldview affects interpersonal relationships.
  • Improve self-awareness and identify biases that may influence the clinical care provided or improve awareness of structural racism and how it affects future practice.
  • Recognize and appropriately address gender and cultural biases within healthcare delivery while considering the health of the patient, and that patient's perceptions of healthcare.
  • Build effective communication strategies that promote mutual respect and reduce intercultural conflicts, misconceptions, or misunderstandings.
  • Create a response and communication plan for inappropriate patient/doctor interactions directed at the clinician.
  • Discuss the impact of acculturation level on healthcare or discuss the impact of cultural beliefs specific to medicine.
  • Devise strategies to enhance skills toward the provision of care in the culturally aware practice.
  • Through Literature, Film, or Music - Investigate and report on a culture (not your own) to enhance and encourage both cultural humility and lifelong learning.  
  • Discuss the difference between cultural humility and cultural competence
  • Research and teach a topic in the area of cultural awareness, humility, or competence.  


Bobbie Ann A. White, EdD, MA, Texas A&M Health Science Center (bawhite@tamhsc.edu)
Leila E. Harrison, PhD, MA, MEd, Washington State University, College of Medicine