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Open Access The challenges of cross-cultural research and teaching in family medicine: How can professional networks help?

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Modern medical training emphasizes the value of understanding the patient’s ideas, concerns and expectations, and the use of their personal perspective to assist communication, diagnosis, and uptake of all appropriate health and treatment options. This requires doctors to be ‘culturally sensitive’, which “… involves an awareness and acceptance of cultural differences, self-awareness, knowledge of a patient’s culture, and adaptation of skills”. Yet most of us work in one country, and often one community, for much of our professional careers. Those who enter into academic pursuits will similarly be constrained by our own backgrounds and experiences, even though universities and medical schools often attract a multicultural membership. We therefore rely on our professional training and networks to extend our scope and understanding of how cultural issues impact upon our research and its relevance to our discipline and curricula. This article uses a reflexive narrative approach to examine the role and value of international networks through the lens of one individual and one organisation. It explores the extent to which such networks assist cross cultural sensitivity, using examples from its networks, and how these can (and have) impacted on greater cross-culturalism in our teaching and research outputs.

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Keywords: Professional networks; career opportunities; cross-culturalism; professional development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016-04-01

More about this publication?
  • Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is an open-access journal focusing on subjects that are common and relevant to family medicine/general practice and community health. The journal publishes relevant content across disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, social and preventive medicine, research and evidence based medicine, community health service, patient education and health promotion and health ethics. The journal has a specific focus on the management of chronic illness particularly diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and common mental illness. FMCH is published by Compuscript http://www.compuscript.com on behalf of the Chinese General Practice Press http://www.chinagp.net.

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