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Cultural encounters were used in a senior-level undergraduate nutrition capstone course to enhance students’ cultural competence attitudes and skills. The course included a service-learning component for which students met weekly with international students who were enrolled in an intensive English language program as conversation partners. The course content and structure focused on Campinha-Bacote’s cultural competence model. The model includes 5 constructs: cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters, and cultural desire. This capstone, writing-intensive course included creative writing activities, discussion, journaling, and reflection papers. The 20-item Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals-Student Version© was used as the pre-post-test measure. Paired sample t-tests were used to calculate outcomes. A significant increase from pre-test to post-test in the total score was found (t(18) = -6.852, p < 0.001). Pre- and post-test scores indicated students were operating at a culturally competent level. There were significant increases in all constructs with notable increases in cultural knowledge and cultural skill constructs. A course dedicated to developing pre-professional healthcare students’ cultural competence levels may better prepare them for professional practice.
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