The Multicultural Country Index grew out of a combination of clinical precepting, and reviews of cultural competence literature and curricula. We observed that knowledge-based orientations to teaching clinicians about different cultural groups often suffered from inevitable reductionism and stereotyping. At the same time, we encountered a wealth of approaches to cross-cultural patient history-taking. We decided to experiment with an alternative, in a way that would take advantage of Internet-based resources.
We began by assembling a list of the cultural groups represented among the patients at Boston Medical Center, and then asked assistance from clinicians to identify the groups representing the greatest numbers among their patients. This inquiry allowed us to prioritize which countries we would address first.
After a review of different history-taking models drawn from the sources listed below, we distilled many of the questions they recommended, organized them under different headings, and began a process of seeking focused web links related to each topic. We reviewed the sites we located and selected those we felt were most reliable and useful to clinicians. We also tried to find sites that represented pluralism of different kinds.
Our goal is to provide a resource for clinicians that enables one to go directly to the country from which a patient or family comes, and from there, to the topic of immediate interest. We have aimed for a combination of a wealth of resources with an efficient, focused, and clinically relevant approach.
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