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Doctors Must Learn 'Cultural Humility'

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The president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA), Barbara L. McAneny, MD, urged clinicians to be trained to have, “an understanding of different cultures and how this affects people’s attitudes toward healthcare and toward illness.” The term competency suggests achieving a threshold of learning about the other, while humility implies the learning process is a life-long endeavor. Such competency includes understanding the challenges that patients overcome to comply with a treatment regimen, medication, or changes to a regimen. The AMA created a learning module on cultural competency, which uses the acronym LEARN to explain the communication framework: L for listen; E for explain; A for acknowledge the differences between what patients understand and what you know; R for recommend a treatment plan that is consistent with your conversation with a patient; and N for negotiate to get agreement from patients on a course of action. Learn more at the Medscape article. Visit the AMA site to access a module on cultural competency as part of its Graduate Medical Education Competency Education Program.

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