Cultural Competence Education for Students in Medicine and Public Health

Report of an Expert Panel

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) sponsored a Joint Expert Panel on Cultural Competence Education in May 2009 to develop a set of core cultural competencies appropriate for, though not limited to, medical and public health students.  These competencies aim to help ensure the development and delivery of appropriate health care and population health services and policies and for a growing diverse population that includes those currently medically underserved. 

The panel is co-chaired by Dr. Linda Alexander (Kentucky), who represents the public health education perspective, and Dr. Donna Elliott (University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine), who stands for the medical education perspective.  ASPH's participation in the meeting occurred as a result of earlier work done by the Diversity Committee, currently chaired by Dean Marla Gold (Drexel).

The panel was charged to develop general recommendations on competencies and associated educational opportunities common to programs of study for medical school and public health students to gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to cultural competence.  The aim is to provide a report which articulates a common fundamental literacy amongst the two professions in which students would gain a minimal knowledge of the other profession. 

The model for the panel is the Medical School Objectives Project (MSOP), an AAMC initiative designed to reach general consensus within the medical education community on the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that graduating medical students should possess (see 

ASPH representatives on the panel include:

  • Dr. Linda Alexander, co-chair (Kentucky)
  • Dr. Joe Dan Coulter (Iowa)
  • Dr. Tom LaVeist (JHU)
  • Dr. Maureen Lichtveld (Tulane)
  • Dean Tricia Penniecook (LLU)
  • Dr. Jessie Satia, deceased (UNC)

Special thanks for the origin of the panel go to Dr. Lichtveld who conceived of the idea and worked with both the AAMC and ASPH to bring the event to fruition.  Dr. Lichtveld also is a dual representative on the panel, representing both public health and medicine. 

AAMC representatives on the panel include:

  • Dr. Donna Elliott, co-chair (University of Southern California)
  • Ms. Sylvia Bereknyei (Stanford)
  • Dr. Maureen Lichtveld (Tulane)
  • Dr. Desiree Lie (UC-Irvine)
  • Dr. Hendry Ton (UC-Davis)
  • Ms. Janet Trial (University of Southern California)

See here for a press release regarding the competency report launch.

Please contact Liz Weist at or Alexis Ruffin at with questions.

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