Original Publication
Open Access

The ETHNICS Mnemonic: Clinical Tool, Didactics, and Small Group Facilitator's Guide

Published: May 9, 2007 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.600

Included in this publication:

  • Ethnics Mnemonic 1.pdf
  • Ethnics Mnemonic 2.pdf
  • Ethnics Mnemonic 3.ppt
  • Ethnics Mnemonic 4.pdf
  • Ethnics Mnemonic 5.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: The need to define and assess optimal strategies for influencing attitudes and facilitating skills development in providing culturally appropriate care is a critical challenge to academic medicine. To address this we created and tested the ETHNICS (Explanation, Treatment, Healers, Negotiate, Intervention, Collaboration, and Spirituality) mnemonic. Methods: This is a didactic session and series of handouts on the ETHNICS mnemonic pioneered by the authors. The active learning component includes a facilitated small-group session with two role-plays that allow learners to explore their own health beliefs and practice utilizing the ETHNICS mnemonic. Results: The clinical tool and small group facilitator's guide have been used by 158 first-year medical students. The session was highly rated by all first-year medical students for session planning and organization, meeting stated learning objectives, and facilitation. Discussion: The ETHNICS mnemonic provides a framework for cross-cultural interviewing that physicians and other healthcare professionals can use in providing culturally appropriate geriatric care. This resource may be used for teaching cross-cultural interviewing with residents, fellows, and interdisciplinary health care professionals.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Elicit and facilitate cross-cultural issues during healthcare encounters with older adult patients.
  2. State and describe four rationales for providing culturally appropriate geriatric care.
  3. Define the concept of cultural competence and describe three techniques that can reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
  4. State the seven domains of the ETHNICS framework and describe challenges implementing its use.
  5. Identify their own cultural values, assumptions, and beliefs and recognize how their impact of future patient care.
  6. Conduct a patient interview that elicits health beliefs and incorporates these beliefs into the treatment plan.

Author Information

  • Fred Kobylarz, MD, MPH: Florida State University College of Medicine
  • John Heath, MD: UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Robert Like, MD, MS: UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Lisa Granville, MD: Florida State University College of Medicine

None to report.

None to report. 

Prior Presentations
Kobylarz, FA. Getting started - teaching cultural competency: the ETHNICS mnemonic in a clinical skills teaching course. Presented at: American Geriatric Society Annual Meeting; 2005; Orlando, Florida.


Kobylarz F, Heath J, Like R, Granville L. The ETHNICS mnemonic: clinical tool, didactics, and small group facilitator's guide. MedEdPORTAL. 2007;3:600. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.600