Purpose: Allied health students require cultural competence training to help them act as caring, ethical, and socially responsible health professionals. There is a lack of evidence for the effectiveness of cultural competence training changing the cultural skill level of allied health students or their behaviour in clinical practice. Method: We conducted a systematic search of the literature to examine the effectiveness of cultural competence training in changing allied health student cultural competency skills. CINAHL, Embase, ERIC, Medline and Scopus databases were searched from inception until August 2017. Search terms represented the population (e.g. allied health students), and cultural competence training. Two reviewers independently screened all retrieved studies and abstracts, then full text papers against inclusion criteria. All included studies were critically appraised, and data was extracted for analysis. Results: Of the initial 9,076 database hits, 15 intervention studies met the inclusion criteria; indicating this is a nascent area of research. Fourteen of the 15 studies demonstrated that cultural competence training provided to allied health students could significantly increase their perceived cultural competence skills, with effect sizes ranging from small to very large. Training was predominately conducted using traditional classroom teaching activities. The review identified that this field of research is dominated by the model and survey tool devised by Campinha-Bacote with a focus on skills required for patient assessment, rather than patient outcomes. Conclusions and possibly recommendations: Cultural competence training can improve allied health students’ perceived level of cultural competence skills for clinical practice. To ensure an effective translation of skill development to clinical practice, tertiary institutions seeking to develop and evaluate cultural competency training programs should focus on teaching cultural competency skills that lead to improved patient outcomes.

Author Bio(s)

Dr Gisela van Kessel is an Associate Dean with University Online and was previously the program director for Physiotherapy in the Allied Health and Human Performance Unit, University of South Australia, AUS. Gisela is a registered physiotherapist in Australia.

Dr. Caroline Fryer is a senior lecturer with the Allied Health and Human Performance Unit at the University of South Australia, AUS. Caroline is a registered physiotherapist in Australia.

Ms. Bernadette Flynn was a Clinical Educator with the School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, AUS. Bernie is a retired registered physiotherapist.

Dr Katia Ferrara is a Research Fellow with La Trobe University and The Australian Ballet and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with the University of South Australia, AUS. Katia is a registered physiotherapist in Australia.

Dr Susan Roush was with the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, USA and is now retired





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