Developing Cross-Cultural Empathy through Mindfulness

American English
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INTRODUCTION: The murder of George Floyd sparked international movements to address racial inequality. These movements have prompted critical conversations about medical racism, bias, and social determinants of health. These events have caused us to turn inwardly and question what we know, the limits of our understanding, and the role of medical training in developing the skills and perspectives needed to address racial inequality in health care systems. The purpose of this session is to share the design and preliminary outcomes of a curricular intervention that aims to train pediatrics residents to use mindful reflective practice to develop cross-cultural empathy and engage with anti-racist ideas.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To develop and implement a curriculum that teaches mindful reflective practice as a tool for developing cross-cultural empathy and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in healthcare.

METHODS: Pediatrics and combined medicine-pediatrics residents participated in four 90-minute small group sessions: (1) cultivating critical awareness of racism in medicine, (2) unpacking bias, microaggressions, and coded language, (3) exploring personal identity and intersectionality, and (4) committing to action and curriculum reflections/feedback. Each session was co-led by 3 facilitators (LB, JL, FW) and structured to provide opportunities for learners to engage, explore, explain, and elaborate on the content presented. Each session began with a guided mindfulness activity and concluded with individual written reflection. Participants completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory, Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, Empathy Quotient, and Stanford Professional Fulfillment assessments prior to session 1, following session 4, and 3 months after completion of the curriculum. Participants also completed the Social Justice and Empathy Assessment following session 4, and 3 months post-curriculum. Quantitative data was analyzed for pre-post changes using t-tests. Curriculum acceptability, facilitator effectiveness, and perceived benefit of each portion of session content was reviewed. Participants engaged in a brief audio-recorded focus group at the end of session 4. The transcribed focus groups and participants’ written reflections following each session were qualitatively analyzed to identify common themes.

RESULTS: Preliminary results from first two cohorts (N=9) indicate that all residents found the course to be sufficiently challenging and that it helped them to pursue growth. The majority of participants expressed increased understanding of curriculum domains; mindfulness (77.8%), medical racism (88.9%), bias/coded language/microaggressions (100%), and identity/oppression/intersectionality (88.9%) and rated the overall course as excellent (88.9%). All residents endorsed agreement for facilitator’s content expertise and excellence in teaching skills. Qualitative analysis of focus groups is ongoing at this time. Preliminary review suggests that participants enjoyed the curriculum, found it to be unique in their residency experience, and desire more opportunities to discuss DEIJ issues in small groups. We expect full quantitative an qualitative analysis of all 6 cohorts in this pilot study will be completed and available for presentation at IU Education Day.

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Blazin LJ, LaMotte JE. Developing Cross-Cultural Empathy through Mindfulness. Oral presentatino at: Indiana University School of Medicine Education Day; April 28, 2022; Indianapolis, IN.
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