Research and Curriculum

Despite a marked improvement in the overall health status of citizens of the United States, not all Americans have benefited equally from improvements in care. Racial and ethnic health disparities in death, disease, and disability still persist. While efforts to design and implement innovative solutions are underway to close the gap, strengthening the relationship between research, education, training, practice, and policy as an integrated approach is critical to figuring out what works to improve the health and well-being of racial and ethnic minority groups. The Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs (CMCA) plays a key role in minimizing health disparities by enhancing our faculty, staff, and students' capabilities through research and education to engage with and care for culturally diverse patient populations. This includes the following:

Conduits CCARP – The CMCA co-directs the Centers for Community & Academic Research Partnerships (CCARP), a center of Mount Sinai's Conduits.

Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine – The CMCA was featured in the April 2010 edition of the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine on Race on and Genes and the December 2008 issue on Diversity and Minority Faculty Development.

Culture and Health Work Group

The Culture and Health Work Group (CHWG), which is overseen and coordinated by CMCA, is chaired by Dr. Gary Butts, Associate Dean for Diversity Programs, Policy, and Community Affairs, and is charged to develop strategic tactics, program activities and projects to implement a comprehensive and integrated approach that will address education, research and community relevant activities related to culture and health.

Language Proficiency in Healthcare Program

The CMCA administers the LPHP which is a growing comprehensive initiative that houses and supports the Medical Spanish/Medicina en Espanol and Medical Mandarin programs. The primary goal of the LPHP is to develop, train, and graduate proficient Spanish and Mandarin speaking culturally able physicians who can better meet the needs of culturally diverse patients living in the surrounding communities.

  • Medical Spanish – Medicina en Espanol
    As a result of collaboration with the faculty from the Arts and Science of Medicine Courses, the subjects of the Spanish language courses parallel what students are learning in their medical training. The Spanish language curriculum was developed by Primera Languages, a company which specializes in teaching Spanish to professionals. MSSM bilingual faculty supplement the teaching of Primera instructors, by inviting students to observe them in during their encounter with patients. Since 2005, three separate course modules, each with three language proficiency levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) have been available to first and second year medical students.

  • Medical Mandarin – Medical Mandarin is a student-run organization at the Icahn School of Medicine. Their mission is to enhance the patient experience by improving the interactions between Mandarin speaking patients and Mount Sinai healthcare providers. By offering language and cultural competency education, Medical Mandarin hopes to train current and future health professionals not only to become better communicators, but also to be better caregivers who understand the intricacies of Chinese cultural traditions and their impact on healthcare. More about Medical Mandarin.

Summer Research Scholar Program for 1st Year MSSM URM Medical Students – The CMCA Summer Research Program was established to provide mentored summer research opportunities for first-year Mount Sinai school of medicine medical students who are from groups underrepresented in medicine

Medical Student Research Office

Golden Family Community Pediatrics Research Award Program

A unique partnership between the CMCA and the Division of General Pediatrics, the Golden Family Community Pediatrics Research Award provides medical students longitudinal, mentored, self-initiated projects, which target a unique question in community pediatrics. Objectives include: developing and support medical student interest in a broad array of community pediatric issues, increasing knowledge/awareness of issues related to children in the context of their families and communities, and cultivating ongoing mentorship relationships for students with mentors in community pediatrics. It is open to all MSSM medical students.

CMCA Journal Club for Medical Students: Critical Review of Issues in Health Outcomes Disparities and Community Health

The CMCA Journal Club is offered on a monthly basis during a lunch hour fall all Mount Sinai medical students to attend and participate. The journal club offers a presentation and discussion of peer-reviewed journal articles centered on critical issues in health outcomes disparities and community health. Participants may present selected articles and give background information, critique methods, and discuss results and conclusions. This course also offers an opportunity for presentation and discussion of recent research by medical students on these same topics. Participants will work with CMCA staff and or faculty mentors to review and critically appraise current literature on health outcomes disparities and community health. Presenters will be responsible for preparing formal presentations to the group.


  • Gain experience in the basic understanding of and the critical analysis of research studies published in peer-reviewed health care-related journals.
  • Gain experience in preparing a formal visual presentation and deliver an effective oral presentation.
  • Demonstrate awareness for the impact of culture, race, and environment on illness and disease;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and awareness in health outcomes disparities.
  • Offer insight on how having this new awareness and knowledge will impact the participant's medical training and education


Contact Us

Gary Butts, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Programs, Policy, and Community Affairs
Director, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs
Tel: 212-241-8276
Fax: 212-241-3594
Send e-mail

Mailing Address:

Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
One Gustave L. Levy Place
Box 1035
New York, NY 10029

Office Location:

Annenberg Building
21st Floor, Room 21-70
1468 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029


Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs

Related Resources

Mount Sinai NeuroAIDS Disparities Summer Institute (MSINAD) – A program providing education and funding for research in NeuroAIDS disparities.