Table 1

'Cultural expertise' and 'cultural sensibility' [24]

Cultural expertise: Expertise is defined as expert skill, knowledge or judgement with an expert being defined as having special skill at a task or knowledge in a subject. There is a notion that through learning knowledge about 'other' cultures, one can develop cultural expertise. In learning terms this means learning about the modus operandi of different cultural groups.

Cultural sensibility: Sensibility is defined as openness to emotional impressions, susceptibility, and sensitiveness. It relates to a person's moral, emotional or aesthetic ideas or standards. If one is open to the outside, one might reflect and change because of that experience. There is no notion of acquiring expertise about others but a recognition that we need to be aware of our perspectives and how they affect our ability to have an openness about other perspectives. This leads to a generic openness to diversity of all kinds and specific knowledge is not taught.

On this basis the following types of medical schools were included:

Where the cultural diversity programmes were more consistent with 'cultural sensibility 'than 'cultural expertise';

Where the programmes had elements of 'cultural sensibility' and elements of 'cultural expertise' model;

Where the programmes were more consistent with 'cultural expertise' but had some aspects of 'cultural sensibility'; and

Where no specified programme regarding cultural diversity was taught (this was based on information available about the curriculum and direct contact with staff at the school).


Dogra and Carter-Pokras BMC Medical Education 2005 5:37   doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-37

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