The History of the Diversity in Medicine Course:
The Diversity in Medicine (DIM) course was first approved as an accredited University of California, Irvine course on January 24, 2000 by the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP). The program was developed by a UCI medical student, Krystal Pham, and a UCI Postbaccalaureate student, Van Huynh, who collaborated with university faculty and staff. Prany Sananikone, the Director of Diversity Relations and Educational Programs of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD) and Dr. Ralph Purdy, the Associate Dean of Admissions and Outreach of the College of Medicine became the founding co-directors of the program.
The first Diversity in Medicine course debuted in the Spring Quarter of 2000 as an elective course for medical students on a transcript notation. After the addition of Susana Sandoval, a student advisor in the Department of Bio Science Student Affairs, as the undergraduate director, the course became available for undergraduate units. After the program moved to the undergraduate campus, Jose Rea, the co-director of the PRIME-LC Program at the UCI School of Medicine, joined the Diversity in Medicine team in 2003 as a director and liaison to the UCI School of Medicine. Together, Director Rea and Director Sandoval promoted the course to undergraduate students.
Since its warm reception on the undergraduate campus by students, faculty, and medical doctors, the program has expanded to include units for undergraduate students and graduate students in the School of Public Health in 2011 with the addition of two directors; Dr. Martha Sosa-Johnson, the Associate Clinical Professor at the UCI School of Medicine, and Dr. Oladele Ogunseitan, the Chair of the Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention, and has since moved back to the UCI School of Medicine campus.
The Diversity in Medicine course is unique among all other University of California campuses because it is completely run by student coordinators. The Diversity in Medicine coordinators are comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students who have a passion for promoting diversity and cultural competency.
True to the original vision of the program as a means to provide information and improve patient/doctor clinical and communication skills, attitudes, and behaviors with ethnic and culturally diverse patients, the course today continues to be open to all undergraduate, graduate, medical students, doctors at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center (UCIMC), and staff around the university campus and outlying community.
The University of California, Irvine, has developed a unique course regarding the enormous diversity that exists within medicine, with a focus on addressing the disparities in healthcare that many patients and populations face due to cultural misconceptions, miscommunication, and misunderstandings. This course is supported by the UC Irvine School of Medicine, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and the Program in Public Health and is open to all members of UC Irvine and the extended community.
The primary goal of this course is to provide information that will assist healthcare professionals to maximize the quality of patient care in a diverse society. Health care professionals provide culturally competent patient care by focusing on the major concepts of awareness, clinical and communication skills, attitudes, and behaviors. By first understanding the impact of culture on patient care, one will begin to make the connection between cultural competency at the individual practitioner level and how this competency can be integrated into the health care system.
A second goal is to stimulate and promote interest in cross-cultural medicine among students. Diversity in Medicine: Addressing Disparities in Healthcare will familiarize students to new ideas emerging in the medical field, as well as expose students to the health needs of underserved communities. This course will allow students to explore clinical, public service, and research opportunities available in related fields.
Lastly, with the information and materials presented, a goal is to create a culturally friendly and diverse atmosphere at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and UCI Medical Center for students, patients, visitors, and the community.