Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Culture's Roles in Diagnosis and Treatment, 3 Credits

Swedish name: Kulturens roller i diagnostik och behandling

This syllabus is valid: 2019-12-30 and until further notice

Course code: 3ME100

Credit points: 3

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Public Health: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Medicine: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Nursing: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Psychology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine

Established by: Board of undergraduate education, 2018-09-11


This course focuses on the culture's different roles in the clinical context in diagnostics and treatment. The importance of cultural information in person-centered clinical health care is presented on the basis of international research studies and various types of clinical cases. Various models for cultural competence in health care are presented and evaluated, and various methods for accessing the patient's cultural information are discussed.
Special emphasis is given to the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI), which is a person-centered tool for clinical use in various health and medical care contexts, and which was initially developed for the DSM-5 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and which is now used internationally. The preparation of this course is based on the international network for research and clinical application of CFI and its use in diagnostics and treatment planning, with a particular focus on ongoing research in Sweden and Norway.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
Upon completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • Explain how cultural and healthcare systems interact at societal (macro), institutional (meso) and individual (micro) levels
  • Explain the theoretical background to the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) and the importance of this type of clinical tool as a tool for diagnostics and therapy options.
  • Show in both theory and practice what a person-centered method in health care means, and how CFI and other tools and methods can constitute a resource in person-centered clinical health care.
Skills and abilities
After completing the course, the student should be able to:
  • Analyze the different roles cultural information can play in a clinical context
  • Analyze how CFI can complement other tools and measurement methods used in different health care settings
  • Evaluate different models of cultural competence in healthcare
Evaluation ability and approach
After completing the course, the student should be able to:
  • Show insight into how KFI and other methods provide understanding of the patient's way of creating meaning in relation to their own health and ill-health
  • Show insight into their own way of creating meaning about health and ill-health in a cultural context
  • Show insight into cultural "idioms of distress"

Required Knowledge

90 hp basic education in the area of medicine/paramedicine/nursing or equivalent foreign university education.
English A/5 from Swedish high school or equivalent.

Form of instruction

The course is designed for distance studies. The teaching takes place through pre-recorded lectures and recorded role-plays where KFI is used on different patients and contexts. Further student group exercises and one obligatory seminar arranged on campus for students in Umeå, or via distance technology for students in other parts of Sweden or in other countries. Teaching is in English.
The course uses a distance-learning format in order to enable the involvement of international clinical researchers in a teaching role, and to create a platform for medicine / nursing students and clinical professionals in various fields of mental and somatic health and to offer a chance to work with this clinical tool. The course presents KFI and the process of its development in relation to the health center's person-centered perspective, and in particular attention is paid to the importance of how cultural information interacts with the health and health care context for all patients, and also in the design of health care systems.

Examination modes

The examination consists of written assignments and recorded role-play exercises. Examination is done individually. Submission of examination written assignments and role-play exercises takes place via the course's website. Students must answer written assignments in English in the first instance, but students in Sweden and Norway can use Swedish or Norwegian if desired.
The course is graded according to the following grading system, or according to ECTS if desired: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with Distinction (VG).
To get the grade "well-approved" on the entire course, the student must have received this grade on all written assignments and exercises.

Students who do not pass the ordinary examination will be offered an opportunity for a new examination within three months of the first examination.
A student who has passed an ordinary exam without an approved result and a re-examination for a course or part of a course, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless special reasons speak against it.

The University's plagiarism policy is applied.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.