Cultural Sensitivity in OB/GYN: the Ultimate Patient-Centered Care

Publication ID Published Volume
1658 May 19, 2009 5


This is a PowerPoint presentation with accompanying speaker notes suitable for presentation to healthcare learners at nearly any level of training: students, residents, fellows and faculty. The resource is designed to be used in an interactive style with learner participation. Practical suggestions are included to assist in a total assessment of the patient with emphasis on language barriers and cultural barriers. Varied simple clinical vignettes allow the learners to explore how cultural differences can impact care in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Culturally sensitive care allows the patient to more fully partner with the provider in achieving better health. The resource stresses the need for cultural sensitivity versus cultural stereotyping. The resource has been utilized eight times per year for the last two years as part of the OB-GYN clinical clerkship at University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. During this time it has undergone significant revision based on learner feedback; simple clinical vignettes were added. Learners have indicated that this was a topic which otherwise did not receive much emphasis in the course of the M3 year. A recent learner recommended, "cultural competencies lecture at the beginning, not the end of the clerkship, would have been more beneficial." The resource works best in smaller interactive sessions but can be used with a larger group. Especially with the cases, try to get the audience thinking and volunteering their thoughts before giving the answer for the particular case, because usually the learners come up with great ideas. In discussion of the cases, there are generalizations presented. It is vitally important during the discussion of the cases to stress the need to approach each patient as an individual, and avoid stereotyping. There is easily an hour worth of material in this presentation, which can be tailored to your learners needs. Target learners: Medical, nursing or physician assistant students, physicians, nurses, and mid-level practitioners. Many references are from Galanti's Caring for Patients from Different Cultures 4th Ed., (2008.)


Elson M. Cultural sensitivity in OB/GYN: the ultimate patient-centered care. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2009;5:1658.

Educational Objectives

  1. To identify cultural barriers which lead to health care disparities.
  2. To determine when and how to use an interpreter.
  3. To apply principles of cross-cultural communication to every patient encounter.
  4. To appraise and respond to cultural cues in the clinical setting.


  • Culturally-Sensitive, Language Barrier, Stereotyping, Cross-Cultural, Interpreter, Mistranslation, Culture, Health Equity Research

Prior Scholarly Dissemination

Material Access

Please sign in to access this material.

Please register for an AAMC account if you do not have one.


  • Contact Us

Subscribe to Our Quarterly Newsletter

Receive featured content & announcements!

ISSN 2374-8265