Dean’s commentary

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 3, April 2009, page(s) 109 MDs To Be
Gavin Stuart, MD, Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine

We asked the dean to comment on “Language skills of UBC medical students: Working toward cultural competency in health care.” Here is his commentary. —ED

Aspects of multiculturalism as related to the practice of medicine are especially relevant to British Columbia and Canada, and are therefore considered in two courses (Doctor, Patient and Society Years I and II) within the UBC Faculty of Medicine Un­dergraduate Medical Program. Completion of these courses re­quires (among other topics) that students be aware of gender and culture biases, including that of language, in self and others and also that there is a recognition of how racial/ethnic differences can affect health care delivery.

In the most recent Accreditation Report about the Faculty of Medicine at UBC (March 2008), the site team found a high level of satisfaction with the evaluation system of the course (3.83/5.00 in the class of 2010 for the Year I course) and that as students matur­ed they “gained a greater appreciation [of the practice of medicine within a complex, diverse, and multicultural society], and had more exposure to clinical practice.”

As is the case for all aspects of curriculum renewal, the contents of the total curriculum are reviewed on an ongoing basis and we are currently undertaking an in-depth review of the curriculum, which will no doubt include issues of cultural safety. The undergraduate curriculum is only the beginning of what is a lifelong learning approach to becoming culturally aware in order to provide the best clinical care in a patient-centred context.

—Gavin Stuart, MD
Dean, Faculty of Medicine, UBC