Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2004

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Donna DeGracia

Second Advisor

Dawn B. Ludwig


ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Cultural diversity continues to expand within the United States- People of diverse cultural backgrounds have diverse expectations about the healthcare they should receive. When expectations of healthcare providers and patients conflict, quality of care, patient outcomes, ind the healthcare economy suffer. Consequently, the need for culturally competent healthcare has risen to the attention of healthcare professionals. Physician assistants (PAs) have acknowledged the need to provide culturally competent care. This study aimed to determine the level of cultural competence in PAs and identify characteristics of PAs that are associated with cultural competence. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Culrural competence was measured in PAs from the North Central region of the American Academy of Physician assistants attending the March 28, 2003 Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants Spring CME conference. The Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare professionals (IAPCC) was used to measure cultural competence. A questionnaire containing demographic characteristics was completed by participants. RESULTS: Thirty-six PAs completed the IAPCC and demographic questionnaire. Median number races/ethnicities represented in co-workers was one (r=1-5), while that in patients was three (r=1-6). Median number of previous cultural education exposures was 3 (r=l-6). Based on IAPCC scores, one (2.8%) PA could be labeled "culturally competent" and 35 (97.27%) were "culturally aware". A diverse body of co-workers was associated with a high IAPCC score (p=0.007, as was a history of greater exposure to cultural education (p=0.038); when controlling for all variables measured, none was independently predictive of a high IAPCC score. CONCLUSION: Most (35/36; 97.2%) PAs were "culturally aware", but only one (2.87%) was "culturally competent". Higher IAPCC scores are associated with having a diverse coworker population and more cultural education.


SC 11.PAS.2004.Burgher.LA