gms | German Medical Science

17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching Medical Skills

4. - 6. April 2013, Wien, Österreich

Diversity & Transcultural Teaching


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17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching medical skills. Wien, Österreich, 04.-06.04.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. DocL04

doi: 10.3205/13grako12, urn:nbn:de:0183-13grako120

Published: November 29, 2013

© 2013 Binder-Fritz.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


In the context of worldwide migration European countries have become more diverse on several levels, including ethnic origin, legal status, socio economic situation, religious beliefs and cultural background. The increasing diversity of patient populations poses new challenges for our health care system and hospitals, as the present health services are not sufficiently prepared to accommodate this social, ethnic and cultural diversity.

There is growing evidence of how important it is for health care providers to recognize the value of and respond appropriately to the diversity among their health care consumers as well as their health care staff.

Transcultural competence has become a 21st century imperative for those responsible for providing health care services in multi ethnic societies to be more effective in developing relationships and in communicating with patients of different ethnic groups.

Socio-cultural differences between doctors and their clients, all too often result not only in deficiencies of care but also of health outcomes. Therefore medical and nursing students have to be educated in such ways that will enable them to provide appropriate treatment and care, which is both, efficient and culturally congruent. Apart from basic knowledge about the diverse ethno, socio and cultural client groups that are being served, the medical interventions have to be tailored appropriately to the patients, their families and their communities. Comprehensive approaches to health and health care are the most effective. Among other strategies community participation and insider perspectives are essential to sustain efforts. On the other hand it is important that medical students, clinicians and other health care professionals become aware of personal attitudes, beliefs, biases and behaviors that may influence (consciously or unconsciously) the treatment and care of patients and the interactions with professional colleagues and staff from diverse ethnic and sociocultural background.

This lecture will discuss relevant topics that have to be an integral part of medical education and vocational training courses and give some examples to demonstrate their clinical implications. In addition the new Master Course (Universitätslehrgang) on "Transcultural Competence and Diversity Care" at the Medical University of Vienna will be shortly presented.