Chinese Medical Interest Group

Chinese Medical Interest Group Logo

The Chinese Medical Interest Group (CMIG) is focused on addressing a critical need in the medical education of DGSOM students: effectively communicating and connecting with Chinese-speaking populations. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest populations of Mandarin-speaking patients in the United States, yet despite this, UCLA DGSOM does not have any formal opportunities to train future health professionals in medical Chinese. The four main goals of our interest group are to: 1) Develop our communication skills with ethnic Chinese patients by learning how to speak native languages in an effective and culturally-appropriate manner. 2) Explore unique aspects of Chinese culture and perceptions, focusing on their influence on health and how this differs from Western culture. 3) Learn how to approach patients in a manner not taught in the classical curriculum at DGSOM through understanding the patients’ cultural backgrounds. 4) Connect medical students with immersive opportunities to learn and practice their Chinese communication skills. First and most importantly, we aim to develop our communication skills. We will first focus on Mandarin, given that it is the most common dialect, and later move on to others. CMIG members have created instructional medical Mandarin content, consisting of 10 chapters covering various systems. Each chapter has a video lesson (uploaded onto the Youtube channel) as well as corresponding workbook documents and Anki flashcard decks. Content is designed for intermediate-level Chinese speakers. While communicating through native Chinese languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, etc.) is one of the primary focuses of the organization, CMIG aims to address unique cultural aspects and intersections of Chinese culture and health, including topics such as how ethnic Chinese people perceive blood pressure, express pain, mental health; how East and West medicine can be combined to optimize care; and epidemiologies of diseases and their specific manifestations within Chinese populations. We will accomplish this through lunch talks and presentations by collaborating with faculty of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and practicing UCLA physicians who work closely with ethnic Chinese patients. Working with faculty mentors, we also work on research projects focusing on improving care for ethnically Chinese patients and the use of East-West medicine in patient outcomes. Finally, we aim to provide clinical opportunities for students to experience first-hand the caring of ethnic Chinese patients, both in language and in the unique approaches and practices that are adopted to best care for these specific populations. One primary avenue will be through the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. Our mentor, Dr. Ka-Kit Hui, has already expressed interest in bringing about such opportunities to DGSOM students. Altogether, these four avenues will not only enhance students’ future medical careers no matter what field they go into through communication and culturally-competent care, but also stimulate interest and advocacy in important cultural aspects that are central to the care of ethnic Chinese patients.

Signatories: Kandace Fung, Kathleen Trinh, and Haidee Chen

Advisor: Pamela R Cysner

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