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Free Content Examining Intercultural Sensitivity and Competency of Physician Assistant Students

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Training in intercultural competency for health care professionals is necessary to bring greater balance to the disparity currently found among those needing health care. The purpose of this study was to determine what, if any, improvements in cultural competency were measurable in physician assistant (PA) students as they matriculated, using the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge and Skills Survey-Revised as a pretest upon program entry and again as a posttest on the final day of the program. Ninety-three PA students from four successive classes graduating from a private midwest college between 2003 and 2007 participated in the pre and post measurements. All students were enrolled in specific didactic studies and clinical experiences in cultural sensitivity and competency. The results demonstrated significant improvement in knowledge (pretest 2.63, posttest 2.76, p=0.001) and skills (pretest 2.63, posttest 2.93, p<0.001) for all classes combined. The Intercultural Development Inventory was administered to the most recent graduating class to further explore these results. This cohort showed the highest scores (group mean 3.58 on scale of 1–5) in the Minimization developmental stage, which emphasizes cultural commonality over cultural distinctions. Enhanced curricular instruction such as exploring cultural assessment methods and controversies in health care differences, combined with increased clinical experiences with diverse cultures, are recommended to help move students past the minimization stage to gain greater cultural competency.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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