Open Access Research article

Development and evaluation of a web-based breast cancer cultural competency course for primary healthcare providers

Richard C Palmer1*, Raquel Samson2, Maria Triantis2 and Irene D Mullan3

Author Affiliations

1 Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work. 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL, 33199, USA

2 8757 Georgia Avenue, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA

3 Cancer and Tobacco Initiatives, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. 1335 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:59  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-59

Published: 15 August 2011



To develop and evaluate a continuing medical education (CME) course aimed at improving healthcare provider knowledge about breast cancer health disparities and the importance of cross-cultural communication in provider-patient interactions about breast cancer screening.


An interactive web-based CME course was developed and contained information about breast cancer disparities, the role of culture in healthcare decision making, and demonstrated a model of cross-cultural communication. A single group pre-/post-test design was used to assess knowledge changes. Data on user satisfaction was also collected.


In all, 132 participants registered for the CME with 103 completing both assessments. Differences between pre-/post-test show a significant increase in knowledge (70% vs. 94%; p < .001). Ninety-five percent of participants agreed that the web based training was an appropriate tool to train healthcare providers about cultural competency and health disparities.


There was an overall high level of satisfaction among all users. Users felt that learning objectives were met and the web-based format was appropriate and easy to use and suggests that web-based CME formats are an appropriate tool to teach cultural competency skills. However, more information is needed to understand how the CME impacted practice behaviors.