Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Diversifying the medical curriculum

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 23 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l300
  1. Faye Gishen, consultant physician and academic lead for clinical and professional practice,
  2. Amali Lokugamage, deputy lead for clinical and professional practice
  1. University College London Medical School, UK
  1. f.gishen{at}

We need to evolve curriculums that are reflective of the populations we teach and serve clinically

As patient populations grow increasingly diverse and complex, doctors and medical students should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to treat patients from minority groups equitably and non-judgmentally. Educating medical students on diversity related topics increases confidence in communication and has the potential to improve patient care. The implementation of such a “diversity curriculum” has largely been left to individual medical schools.1 Existing cultural competence training programmes have been criticised, however, for being simplistic and flattening cultural differences down to lists, with diversity training in higher education accused of being tokenistic.23

The Windrush scandal last year highlighted systemic inequalities within British organisational systems and points to the persistence of colonial influences within society. Medicine and medical education could, on some levels, be accused of “colonising” students, patients, and doctors. This analoguey is drawn by Stern who describes “biomedicine and its training …

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