Effectiveness of cross-cultural education for medical residents caring for burmese refugees

Megan McHenry, Kavitha Nutakki, Nancy Swigonski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Limited resources are available to educate health professionals on cultural considerations and specific healthcare needs of Burmese refugees. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a module focused on cross-cultural considerations when caring for Burmese refugees. Methods: A brief educational module using anonymously tracked pre- and post-intervention, self-administered surveys was developed and studied. The surveys measured pediatric and family medicine residents’ knowledge, attitudes, and comfort in caring for Burmese refugees. Paired t-tests for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables were used to test pre- and post-intervention differences. We included open-ended questions for residents to describe their experiences with the Burmese population. Results: The survey was available to 173 residents. Forty-four pre- and post-intervention surveys were completed (response rate of 25%). Resident comfort in caring for Burmese increased significantly after the module (P = 0.04). Resident knowledge of population-specific cultural information increased regarding ethnic groups (P = 0.004), appropriate laboratory use (P = 0.04), and history gathering (P = 0.001). Areas of improved resident attitudes included comprehension of information from families (P = 0.03) and length of time required with interpreter (P = 0.01). Thematic evaluation of qualitative data highlighted four themes: access to interpreter and resources, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and relationship building with cultural considerations. Discussion: A brief intervention for residents has the potential to improve knowledge, attitudes, and comfort in caring for Burmese patients. Interventions focused on cultural considerations in medical care may improve cultural competency when caring for vulnerable patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28406110
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Burmese
  • Medical education
  • Pediatrics
  • Refugees
  • Survey methods
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education

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