Seminar Details

Culturally Competent Hospital Communication

As of 2009, 25% of US physicians are foreign born—increasing the likelihood of failed communication.

Do your residents have trouble communicating with their patients due to language barriers? Do they have misunderstandings with fellow health care professionals based on their ethnic or cultural backgrounds? With the increasing diversity in the American health care system, there is the increased likelihood of failed communication and compromised patient care.

An interactive one-day seminar for Hospitals with culturally diverse staff:

This popular course has been delivered for over a decade, evolving to meet the needs of international and foreign-born resident physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, emergency medicine, and surgery.

The course may be adapted to include medical students, nursing staff, and attending physicians. Each participant receives a notebook with readings, seminar notes, and exercises.

No lecture-type presentations:

Seminar content is taken from trade publishers and proprietary Headbloom training materials. They are based on sound linguistic and pedagogic principles and always have as their final target more comfortable and communicative output on the part of the learners. We do not believe in boring, lecture-type presentations. Headbloom seminars and workshops are designed to be engaging and interactive.

Topics and exercises help participants identify and overcome cross-cultural challenges:

US and foreign-born participants do exercises to develop a new understanding of cultural identification.

  • Participants analyze examples of patient behavior from non-Euro-American backgrounds and with new understanding, try to come up with solutions to deliver quality patient care in culturally sensitive, yet medically appropriate, ways.

  • Foreign-born participants learn the major components of the mainstream US-American belief system, compare and contrast it with their own systems, and examine the potential pitfalls in taking care of patients who adhere to a different belief system.
  • Levels of language are distinguished, and participants learn to avoid medical jargon in favor of standard English—even common slang (or vulgar) expressions regarding health and the human body.
  • Seminar topics include substance abuse, sexual practices, eating habits, family relationships, and their connection to patient treatment.

Option to combine seminar with one-on-one coaching:

The seminar can be augmented to include one-on-one coaching with individual health care workers who are looking for individual instruction and direct coaching in communicating with patients and fellow health care delivery staff. Sessions can be arranged immediately following the group seminar, with periodic follow-up work as needed. Additional study materials may be included as needed. Weekly group workshops are available on a number of topics.

International Medical Graduates in the U.S. (from the American Medical Association): http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/img/img-workforce-paper.pdf

Culturally competent health care is gaining attention…

“Culturally competent health care—broadly defined as services that are respectful of and responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of patients—is gaining attention not only as a strategy to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, but as a means of improving health care quality. According to a recent study, cultural competence initiatives may even help control costs, by making care more efficient and effective. In interviewing experts from managed care, academia, and government, researchers found that while perspectives and approaches vary, many synergies exist that should allow for the continuing development of cultural competence in health care.”

- Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H. et al, Cultural Competence and Health Care Disparities: Key Perspectives and Trends, Health Affairs, March/April 2005.

Case Study: Saginaw Hospital

Alan has been delivering this seminar to new resident physicians at Synergy Medical Education Alliance every year for over 10 years. Here are testimonials that speak to the value they have gained from the program.

Testimonial from the VP of Medical & Academic Affairs…

“We have utilized the knowledge and experience of Alan Headbloom for years as we prepare physicians from the US and around the world for the impact cultural differences make in our day-to-day communication. This seminar program is designed to be interactive, and participation is a fun and necessary component of the program. Our resident physicians become more aware and more tolerant of other cultures following the program. Resident physicians from other countries report the program has been beneficial in their professional development and success.”

- Dr. Christine Rohr, Senior Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, Synergy Medical Education Alliance, Saginaw, Michigan

Testimonials from International Medical Graduates…

“The most useful benefit gained from this seminar is that I will be more tolerant, patient, and respectful of others, no matter what their education or profession. I will think more before judging.”

“I will use these skills in my daily practice of medicine. This seminar teaches you what they left out in medical school.”

“From this seminar, I learned that each culture has its own “rules.” This will help me in my practice. I will be able to understand my patients and work with my colleagues more efficiently.”

“I am not good at speaking English. Before this course, I couldn’t magine how to meet different ethnic people, but now I’m encouraged. I learned a lot of communication skills. It was a great help.”

“I learned useful new expressions which I will use with my patients. I also learned new things about American English dialects, especially African American speech.”

Testimonials from American Medical Graduates…

“I gained a lot of insight. I learned to recognize my personal biases when I’m dealing with people/situations. Especially after 9/11, it has been awkward working with doctors from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.”

“In learning details of other cultures, I learned more about myself. I will have a more open mind in the future.”

“I was surprised to learn that there are differences among Indians and Pakistani residents in how they perceive their own culture.”

Request a Seminar Information Packet

To request more details including a seminar syllabus and pricing information, please send me an email. Be sure to include your name and address, and a packet will be mailed to you right away.



Alan Headbloom