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February 11, 2009

Cultural Competence and Student Body Composition Among US Medical Students

JAMA. 2009;301(6):596-597. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.76

To the Editor: The study of student body racial and ethnic composition and diversity-related outcomes in US medical schools, by Dr Saha and colleagues,1 concluded that white medical students graduating from more diverse medical schools are more likely to achieve higher values for “self-rated cultural competence.” We question the validity of this 1-question measure and whether this is an accurate predictor of the students being “highly prepared to care for minority populations.” There are many measures of cultural competence in the literature with proven reliability and validity2 that could have better assessed the significance of their findings.

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