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New Fall 2020 Class: BIOL 3700: Cultural Competence in Personalized Medicine

This course is appropriate for students interested in a variety of health professions and is being taught by Dr. Ian MacFarlane, a professor in the Genetic Counseling program.

Course Description: The ability to work effectively across areas of cultural difference is an essential component of quality healthcare. As we continue to work to reduce healthcare disparities and improve access to treatment to those who have traditionally been underserved, our ability as providers to navigate intercultural communication sensitively will only become more important. This course will explore issues of culture (broadly defined to include areas of identity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability level, religion, and others) relevant to the practice of personalized medicine. Personalized medicine is the practice of using genomic information to predict risk, inform diagnosis, and plan treatment for medical issues ranging from diabetes to cancer to mental health conditions. Examples of the intersections of culture and personalized medicine include assessing the research on which the recommendations are based for minority representation, incorporating religious beliefs and traditions into treatment or prevention recommendations, and identifying systemic barriers to access for underrepresented communities. Students will cultivate a better understanding of their own intersectional identity, build language to effectively address cultural differences in healthcare interactions, and conduct a research project focused on a population of interest. This course is open to all students interested in cultural competence in healthcare professions, as the lessons we learn will translate to all allied health fields.

View the syllabus 


Email Dr. Ian MacFarlane or Dr. Mary Porter.

July, 2020