A qualitative analysis of surgical faculty and surgical resident perceptions of potential barriers to implementing a novel surgical education curriculum

Document Type



General Surgery


Objective: Sociocultural differences between patients and physicians affect communication, and suboptimal communication can lead to patient dissatisfaction and poor health outcomes. To mitigate disparities in surgical outcomes, the Provider Awareness and Cultural dexterity Toolkit for Surgeons was developed as a novel curriculum for surgical residents focusing on patient-centeredness and enhanced patient-clinician communication through a cultural dexterity framework. This study's objective was to examine surgical faculty and surgical resident perspectives on potential facilitators and barriers to implementing the cultural dexterity curriculum.
Design, setting, and participants: Focus groups were conducted at 2 separate academic conferences, with the curriculum provided to participants for advanced review. The first 4 focus groups consisted entirely of surgical faculty (n = 37), each with 9 to 10 participants. The next 4 focus groups consisted of surgical residents (n = 31), each with 6 to 11 participants. Focus groups were recorded and transcribed, and the data were thematically analyzed using a constant, comparative method.
Results: Three major themes emerged: (1) Departmental and hospital endorsement of the curriculum are necessary to ensure successful rollout. (2) Residents must be engaged in the curriculum in order to obtain full participation and "buy-in." (3) The application of cultural dexterity concepts in practice are influenced by systemic and institutional factors.
Conclusions: Institutional support, resident engagement, and applicability to practice are crucial considerations for the implementation of a cultural dexterity curriculum for surgical residents. These 3 tenets, as identified by surgical faculty and residents, are critical for ensuring an impactful and clinically relevant education program.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of surgical education