Using Cultural Immersion in a first year undergraduate medical program in Australia

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Conference Presentation

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Smith, J.D., Springer, S. (2016). Using Cultural Immersion in a first year undergraduate medical program in Australia. Paper presented at the ICEMEN Conference. 23-26 June, 2016, Sault St Marie, Canada.

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All health professionals require an understanding of different cultures to be able to work effectively and safely with their patients and other team members. In 2011 Bond University renewed its undergraduate medical program to include significant cultural awareness and Indigenous health education, as a result of community need and Australian Medical Council recommendations. In 2012 Bond established a diverse multidisciplinary Indigenous Health Group (n=9) to develop and implement its Indigenous curriculum. Part of this program is a two day cultural immersion early in the first year to increase the students understanding of other cultures, particularly Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This program has been conducted for the past four years and in 2015 won three awards including the prestigious Australian Award for University Teaching citation for outstanding contributions to student learning.This paper will present an overview of what we do in the cultural immersion; the results from the evaluation, as well as the initial findings of a longitudinal study to determine the impact cultural awareness programs. This information may assist others in the design and development of similar programs, or policies