Medical students have too little social and cultural awareness
- By: Irina Haivas
Learning about social and cultural issues makes little or no difference to medical students, according to a recent study published in Academic Medicine (2003;78:605-14).
The study found that a new course addressing social and cultural issues in medicine had an insignificant effect on medical students from Dalhousie University, Canada. The researcher, Brenda Beagan, used questionnaires and interviews to compare a group of students that took this course with a control group that did not. She found that students in both groups failed to recognise, or even denied, the effects of race, class, sex, culture, and sexual orientation on their experiences.
Those students who acknowledged the effect of social differences denied the effect of social inequality and power relations. In some instances, students recognised disadvantages experienced by others but not the accompanying privileges enjoyed by their own social group.
In both groups, students from a racial or cultural minority or from