Culture and Health Work Group

The CMCA spearheaded the development of the Cultural Competencies project in July 2000. Participants of this multi-year initiative included faculty, deans and medical students and served as the base for the Culture and Health Work Group (CHWG), which is overseen and coordinated by CMCA. Chaired by Dr. Gary Butts, Associate Dean for Diversity Programs, Policy, and Community Affairs, the CHWG was charged by the Dean for Medical Education with the goal 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. These programs, projects, and activities are oriented to expand culturally focused themes, activities and assessments throughout the required medical school and residency curricula.

The CHWG is comprised of members from the following Mount Sinai Departments and affiliates:

Icahn School of Medicine:

  • Department of Medical Education
  • Department of Nursing
  • Department of Community and Preventive Medicine
  • Department of Social Work
  • Department of Medicine; Internal Medicine Residency Program
  • Center of Excellence in Youth Education
  • Family Medicine Clerkship Program
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship Program
  • Pediatrics Clerkship Program
  • Human Resources (Mount Sinai Hospital)

The Mount Sinai Health System Affiliates:

  • North General Hospital
  • Elmhurst Hospital
  • Jamaica Medical Center
  • Maimonides Medical Center

CHWG Subcommittees

The CHWG currently includes three working sub-committees: Curriculum and Evaluation, Residency Training, and Mapping. Early products of this project include an institutional definition for cultural competence in health, several new curricular additions, and an instrument for measuring "cultural behaviors" in clinical encounters, otherwise known as 'Observing Cultural Behaviors in Settings' (OCBIS).

Curriculum and Evaluation Committee

The Curriculum and Evaluation (C&E) Committee has the charge to assure that the medical school curriculum adequately teaches and assesses cultural competencies by integrating them into the existing medical school curriculum. C&E identified an array of cultural ideas and areas that all students graduating from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai should have experience with – consolidated and categorized into nine DOMAINS: Beliefs, Values, and Biases; Bridging Differences; Control Factors; Environmental Constraints; Health Care Networks; Health Disparities; Language and Literacy; Self and Other; Similarities and Differences.

Residency Training

The Residency Training Committee aims to develop new and innovative efficient teaching approaches to cultural competence for physicians in post-graduate training programs at Mount Sinai Hospital and its affiliates. Our pilot project will commence in July 2006 working with five residency programs. The pilot will assess current cultural competency curriculum efforts in the various residency training programs and begin to work with directors to enhance their curriculum.


The Mapping Committee has developed a matrix tool to monthly scan, identify, and organize, not monitor, programs, projects, activities, and events relevant to diversity and cultural competence occurring within the the Icahn School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Health System.

CHWG Products

CHWG Activities and Projects

  • Observing Cultural Bias In Settings - Assessing Medical Students Use of Cultural Elicitation
  • Medicina en Español Program
  • The Residency Cultural Curriculum Project
  • Culture, Health and Illness course of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Clinical Research Training Program and Masters of Public Health Program
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Culture and Health Related Activities Mapping Grid

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