A study focusing on the cultural competency of chiropractic students was published in the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Chiropractic Education, a peer reviewed journal that is indexed in PubMed.The article, titled "A Retrospective Analysis of the Cultural Competence of Chiropractic Students in a Public Health Course," was written by Life West faculty members, Kim Khauv, DC, MPH, and Joel Alcantara, DC.
According to Dr. Khauv, the purpose of the study was to measure the cultural competency and confidence of a group of third-year senior students. Students completed a 40-item questionnaire regarding their competency in providing care to patients of diverse backgrounds. A subsequent 15-item questionnaire focused on their confidence in delivering chiropractic care to the same group. Afterward, these students attended a six-hour lecture called "Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness," where they discussed cultural differences, biases and assumptions.
Ultimately, the students increased awareness of themselves, their prospective patients' traditional healing beliefs and learned practical means of addressing cultural blind spots. They discussed non-verbal cues, word choice, active listening and building trust. Following the lecture, these same students were given the same set of questionnaires to determine how much they had retained. The results were impressive, as participants improved constructive attitudes toward a patient's unique values.
Dr. Khauv asserts that the need for this type of education is great as chiropractic acceptance has grown internationally and chiropractic doctors are engaging diverse populations. Evidence suggests that biases from care providers increase health disparity as patients feel misunderstood and alienated. Thus, they are less likely to return for care or adhere to recommended health regimens.
Furthermore, Healthy People 2020 has mandated that 100 percent of all health care degree-granting institutions offer a course in cultural competency. The Council on Chiropractic Education has begun to require chiropractic colleges to teach cultural sensitivity as part of a meta-competency. Dr. Khauv has been teaching cultural competency as part of his public health course for the past seven years.
"The results of the study provide assurance that cultural competency can be actively learned and successfully applied by chiropractic students when given instruction and guidance," said Dr. Khauv.
Source: Life Chiropractic College West