Teaching Cases Exploring Cross-Cultural Care

A Project of Albert Einstein College Faculty Task Force on Disparities and Cross-Cultural Training

This case compilation was created in response to discussions in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Faculty Task Force for Disparities and Cross-Cultural Training. The Task Force is an outgrowth of the Health Disparities Education Core of the Bronx Center to Reduce and Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (BronxCREED).

In discussion, it was agreed that case-based teaching is one of the most effective ways to address issues of health disparities and culture. An expert in the field, Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, then Chief of the Division of Academic Medicine, Geriatrics and Community Programs at New Jersey Medical School, was invited to lead workshops on developing cases for cross-cultural teaching, which were held on December 12, 2006. The workshops were enthusiastically received. On September 18, 2007, Dr. Salas-Lopez will return to lead an advanced train-the-trainer workshop on the pedagogy of using cases to teach cultural issues.

After the first workshops it was decided that many departments and programs could easily expand their teaching of cross-cultural issues if a variety of teaching cases were made available. A call went out for faculty and others to develop and submit cases according to specific criteria designed to maximize cross-cultural teaching (see page 4). The cases reflect diverse areas of clinical expertise and are based on evidence from the literature that supports behavioral objectives. Many of the cases were originally developed by participants in the December 2006 workshop. The cases are based on real patients and situations; all identities have been altered to maintain confidentiality.

We hope that these cases assist in the complex and nuanced process of teaching the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to provide care for diverse populations, and that the process is productive and enjoyable. Please let us know your thoughts and comments so that we can learn from your experience and continue to incorporate this important content into the medical and residency curricula of our institutions. There is a brief evaluation form on the last page of this booklet. Please complete it and return it as indicated. This evaluation page can be copied or additional evaluations may be requested from

This case compilation was made possible by the efforts of the following members of the Department of Family and Social Medicine: Hal Strelnick, MD, PI, Bronx CREED; Hope Spano, Administrator, Hispanic Center of Excellence; Elizabeth Lee-Rey, MD, MPH, Director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence and Janet Townsend, MD, Director of Faculty Development. Also, we thank Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network; and Carmen McLaughlin, MPH, Manager, Division of Academic Medicine, Geriatrics and Community Programs of New Jersey Medical School for their expertise and guidance.

This work is supported by grant number P60MD000514-04 from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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