A Training Program for Residents

Improving Patient Care through Religious and Cultural Competence:

A Training Program for Residents

In a country where 92% of U.S. residents believe in God, religion is one of the key social factors that can affect medical care. Unfortunately, this topic receives very little attention in cultural competency training. As a result, today’s physicians are faced with increasingly diverse patient populations with needs that they don’t have the skills to manage.

To address this gap in education, Tanenbaum, in collaboration with Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of Westchester New York, developed an extensive and comprehensive set of training materials on what we call “religio-cultural competence.”

These teaching materials serve as a resource for residency program directors to improve the professionalism and communication skills of their residents in caring for religiously and culturally diverse patients.

About the materials: Tanenbaum offers a series of training modules guided by PowerPoint presentations and an accompanying facilitator’s guide. The facilitator’s guide provides a detailed outline for medical educators on how to present the materials and instructions for facilitating discussions and skills-building activities.

Purchase the Full-Day Training

Purchase the Full-Day Training plus Advanced Modules & Supplementary Materials.

Full-Day Training

Tanenbaum offers a full-day training that was designed to give residents a comprehensive and practical introduction to the knowledge and skills needed to work with religiously diverse patient populations. The full-day training is divided into 6 sections which can be purchased as a complete set or separately.

Curriculum Introduction and Objectives

This free pdf download is the introduction to Tanenbaum’s Improved Patient Care through Cultural and Religious Competence curriculum. The introduction provides an overview of how the curriculum works and the objectives of the curriculum.

Cultural Competence: More Than Race and Ethnicity

An overview of the intersection of religion and many of the major areas within the cultural competency movement such as race, ethnicity, language access, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.  This introduction is followed by a discussion of sections from the documentary film Hold Your Breath (film not included with purchase).  The film illustrates how a lack of awareness, understanding and effective communication around key social identifiers like religion can lead to substandard or disparate care.

Recognizing Unconscious Bias: The Impact of Identity on Behavior

Sometimes we have the false impression have the false impression that their assessments and decision-making operate in a vacuum that is “objective” and separate and apart from their religious, cultural and other social identities.  An interactive activity takes residents through the process of examining and analyzing how their “lens” influences interactions with patients.

Demographic Shifts in the U.S.: Why Religion Matters

An overview of the demographics and trends in the United States that illustrate why cultural competence is an essential skill set for physicians.

15 Areas of Care Where Religion Comes Up: Case Study Discussions

Where does religion come up in a health care setting and what should doctors do about it when it does? This learning module outlines 15 different areas within health care where religion emerges and provides case study examples that can be used for discussion and learning.

Expanding Psychosocial Histories: Addressing Culture & Religion

This section will provide guidelines and recommendations for how to respectfully obtain relevant information from patients about their religious beliefs. This is followed by role-play activities, giving residents the opportunity to practice these new skill sets.

Advanced Learning Modules

Culture & Mental Health: The Impact of Religion on Diagnosis and Treatment

Religion and culture influence how patients view and interact with the world around them, which results in a unique relationship between religiosity and the field of mental health. This training will assist health care providers to more readily identify both how religion influences a patients’ understanding of mental illness and how it impacts patients’ decision-making around treatment and management of their condition. Discussion and learning around the documentary films Can and Hungry to be Heard (films not included in this purchase) are included in the module.

Professionalism: When Religion, Conscience and Health Care Clash

Conscience can influence practitioner interactions with patients in a myriad of ways and, by extension, can influence the interactions and internal dynamics of the health care team. This training assists health care providers in learning to understand what conscience is in the context of a health care setting; identify when conscience influences their interactions with patients; and develop skill sets to appropriately manage situations when conscience comes into play.

Health Disparities for LGBT Youth: The Role of Religion

In order to be religio-culturally competent, pediatricians need to know how to discuss topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity with patients and families of diverse religious backgrounds. This training will assist health care providers in learning to understand the unique health needs and risks of LGBT adolescents; identify how religion can positively or negatively impact LGBT adolescent health; and develop skill sets to appropriately manage situations where religion is a factor in the health of LGBT patients. Documentary clips from The Family Acceptance Project (films not included in this purchase) are used for illustration and discussion.

Supplementary Materials

Religion and Culture in an Outpatient Clinic Setting

This compact 30 minute self-guided PowerPoint module offers an overview of where religion and health care intersect and guides participants through quiz questions and discussion around a series of case studies related to an outpatient clinic setting.

Religion, Culture and Communication: A Series of Case Study Discussions

Interested in additional case study discussion activities to further enrich residents’ learning? Tanenbaum developed a series of case study discussions that illustrate the challenges that can emerge when health care and religion intersect and outlines strategies for managing these situations.  Case study topics include:

  1. A Jehovah’s Witness Patient: Blood Transfusion
  2. A Christian Science Patient: Chemotherapy
  3. A Jewish Patient:  Brain Death
  4. A Muslim Patient: A Porcine Skin Graft

Made possible with the generous support of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations.


© 2014 TANENBAUM|Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Improved Patient Care through Cultural & Religious Competence © 2014 by TANENBAUM | Center for Interreligious Understanding. All rights reserved. No part of these materials may be used or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form or by any other means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express written permission of  TANENBAUM|Center for Interreligious Understanding, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First published 2014.

TANENBAUM | Center for Interreligious Understanding has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet Websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such Websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For additional information contact:

TANENBAUM | Center for Interreligious Understanding
55 Broad Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10004

For permissions to use or reproduce or to purchase additional copies, contact TANENBAUM | Center for Interreligious Understanding at [email protected] or visit Tanenbaum.org.