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Comment & Response
February 21, 2018

Cultural Sensitivity in Deployed US Medical Personnel

Author Affiliations
  • 1Surgery and Global Health, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences–Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Surg. Published online February 21, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.6200

To the Editor I read with interest the Research Letter by Weeks et al1 in which surgeons from the US military have delivered humanitarian surgical care to local national civilians in war zones. The authors raise the important issue of preparing US surgeons for deployment.

Cultural sensitivity is critical in these endeavors, in particular for deployed medical personnel.2 There are many different potential culture clashes that deployed troops can experience in a religious and conservative country.3 It has been well documented that some US troops’ misunderstanding of Iraqi culture when they first entered into the region led to failure of “winning hearts and minds.”4

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