Teaching Cultural Sensitivity in the Patient-Clinician Relationship


Connecticut Department of Public Health requires that licensed physicians/surgeons participate in continuing medical education (CME) activities pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes, and for registration periods beginning on and after October 1, 2010, CME coursework in cultural competency is required. This tutorial module helps you fulfill this requirement. Successful completion of this module will allow you to earn necessary CME credit in cultural competency.


Culture is integrated into five of the six ACGME core competencies in Psychiatry: interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, medical knowledge, systems based practice, and patient care.

  1. Identify interpersonal, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds (Interpersonal and Communication Skills: (IV.A.5.d), and (IV.A.5.d).(1)).
  2. Develop sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, and sexual orientation (Professionalism IV.A.5.f).(14).(b)).
  3. Identify and critique the components of the cultural formulation as applied to patient interactions, diagnosis, and management. Including but not limited to sociocultural, economic, ethnic, gender, religious/spiritual, sexual orientation, and family factors that significantly influence physical and psychological development throughout the life cycle; (Medical Knowledge: IV.A.5.b).(3).(i), IV.A.5.b).(3).(i).(i)).
  4. Demonstrate an ability to organize a comprehensive differential diagnosis and discussion of relevant sociocultural issues (Systems based practice (IV.A.5.f).(14).(b)).
  5. Formulate a clinical diagnosis; eliciting a clear and accurate history; relating history and clinical findings to the relevant sociocultural issues associated with etiology and treatment for patients of different ages and gender from across the life cycle, from a variety of ethnic, racial, sociocultural, and economic backgrounds (Patient Care: (IV.A.5.a).(1), (IV.A.5.a).(3).(a)).

Goals and Objectives

The goals of this tutorial module are:

  • Learn how to elicit and obtain information to understand the patient’s culture
  • Teach the elements of a cultural formulation

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Elicit information to evaluate the socio-cultural context of the patient
  • Build a cultural formulation useful for diagnosis and treatment
  • Become aware that being culturally sensitive is an ongoing life process


CME Credits: 1 Category: 1 Duration: 33 minutes Fee: Free

Acknowledgement is made on behalf of the department that there are no commercial supporters of this course.