Category Archives: multiculturalism

What is your medical classroom community?

A community is commonly defined as a group living together, inferring common ownership, interests and/or background, heritage. (adapted from Merriam-Webster). This would suggest an association of like individuals in one location, which could mean all human beings on earth. Similarly, it could be the ants in the anthill beneath your kid’s swing set. Grouping could also consist of all your alumni, spread around the planet, you get it. What is your teaching community? Your classroom?

medical classroom community Peretz Partensky via Compfight

My current medical classroom community consists of a group of one, last year was two! Usually one. Intern now resident, trained in Chicago. (Believe it or not. US to Canada!) Brilliant, quick, engaging, good-hearted. The classroom is mobile, clinic to ward, to house call.


We practise (and I say it like that as my student, my graduated physician student, is actually practising) in a group practice of several physicians. So, in essence, my student and myself are a community of two within the larger community of the clinic. The clinic itself is a component of the medical system of our town. We all follow patients at our local hospital, in the next town. Here, we have another grouping, as there are several local clinics. The hospital is a component of the Hamilton academic hospital system. We overlap into Niagara. This can keep going…


Nationwide health policy affects provincial direction, which is passed through the local health integration network administration office. Hospital budgets and operating plans are passed by this authority. Constraints on level of health care offered, for one example among many, affects provision of care in the local hospital: some patients are turned away to higher level centers.


All down the chain, the next link is affected by the one before it, and affects the one after. Perhaps a better metaphor is a set of Russian dolls, one fitting into the next.


In this way, every level of community affects every other level. Angst and uproar in the clinic affects the environment in the examining room, as does Christmas carols playing in the hallway. Beyond basic background, each system within which we work has its own rule set, personalities with which to engage, customs.


Quite the Web, isn’t it? Not just your own little examining room!





Community.(n.d.) Merriam-Webster, Retrieved from


Does economic status affect clinical interaction?

Does economic status affect clinical interaction? Does is affect the attempt to teach your patient? The way you present material? Have you thought about it? Does it affect the way you dress? Comport yourself? Decorate your clinic? lozikiki via Compfight I came to my local hospital in 1988. It is a bit of a bedroomContinue Reading

Equity in medicine

Equity speaks to opportunity, equality to treatment. Purple Sherbet Photography via Compfight In regards opportunity, I have had students of all races, but a few male students. Does this mean that males don’t choose family medicine? That females prefer rural locations? That there are fewer males in medicine? (there are.) I have no answers here, butContinue Reading

Gaze scornfully? Understand deficit ideology?

Paul Gorski’s site is certainly interesting. Have you explored it? Do you have a grasp of deficit ideology? Bob Farrell via Compfight I’ve heard of the “scornful gaze”, and am familiar with the concept of “blaming the victim”, but watching that tiny video screen with Gorski (2012) himself gesticulating away drove it home. I thinkContinue Reading

Patients in Gangs

Do you have patients in gangs? I work in a semi-rural area, but still am aware of many teen patients, and a few adults that have some sort of gang affiliation. Often with the teens it’s fairly informal, at least what I’ve seen here in Ontario. The adults, it’s formal. How bad is the problem?Continue Reading

Medical performance or showmanship

After that possibly rather clumsy introduction on my last blog post, let’s talk about showmanship, or the medical performance. The whole concept of defined mental disciplines in medicine is a challenge, a mind boggling enterprise, “thinking about thinking”. We’ll come to that soon. In case you don’t get the below photo, that’s the operating “theatre”…Continue Reading

Teaching with a cultural slant?

Do you think about how you’re presenting material? “Multiculturally”? Now, don’t give me the line that the human body crosses all cultures. We don’t treat bodies, we practise medicine, and treat people. Have you thought of how you think? How you see? If you realize that you’re teaching with a cultural slant, a bias, howContinue Reading

Human Rights, Multiculturalism in Medical Practice.

Human rights are firmly, legally entrenched worldwide (Ayton-Shenker, 1995). There is no cultural excuse for non-fulfillment (Ayton-Shenker, 1995). AndYaDontStop via Compfight Plato spoke of the ideal chair (Vlach, n.d.). There is the ideal chair, perhaps floating in heaven somewhere, then there is one’s concept of it. Then there is the actual product of the craftsman’sContinue Reading