Found in translation: exporting patient-centered communication and small group teaching skills to China.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical education online




The Chinese Medical Doctor's Association asked us to develop a train-the-trainers program in doctor-patient communication and in teaching skills for a select group of Chinese health care professionals, who would then serve as trainers for practicing physicians throughout China. The request came in the context of increasing doctor-patient friction related, in part, to the dissolution of the socialist health care safety net in China. In this article we recount the implementation of our 5-day training program in Beijing. We explore cross-cultural issues that arose in presenting the program's two principal training domains: small group teaching and patient-centered doctor-patient communication. We also explore the linguistic challenges we encountered as non-Chinese speaking teachers. Finally, we reflect on the lessons learned from this project that may be of value to others called upon to export Western doctor-patient communications training to other cultures. In this age of increasing globalization, cross-cultural sharing of medical education represents a growing trend.

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