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Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health

Supporting Cultural Competence

Welcome to the Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health (RCTSH). Our aim is to help health and social care professionals and services deliver culturally-competent care, ultimately ensuring high-quality care for all. Below, you'll find our methodologies and how to join our successful community of academics, practitioners and research students. 

Valuable experience

Formed in 1995, our multi-disciplinary centre brings together health and social care professionals whose research focuses on the study of ethnic health and the promotion of culturally sensitive and competent services.

We structure much of our work on a model developed in the mid-1990s. Formally known as the 'Papadopoulos, Tilki and Taylor (PTT) for Transcultural Health and Cultural Competence' model, it consists of four cultural constructs: awareness, knowledge, sensitivity and competence.

Teaching, education, training

Using the PTT model, the Centre has been able to influence healthcare education and practice (primarily nursing) nationally and internationally through our research, publications, online networks, conference presentations, courses and master classes. 

For example, in partnership with a number of European institutions, the Centre led the Intercultural Education of Nurses in Europe (IENE1 and IENE2) programme, which was funded by the EU Lifelong Learning stream.

Evidence-based knowledge 

The RCTSH has also contributed in the development of research-evidenced knowledge, which teachers and practitioners regularly use in their work to promote and deliver culturally competent care.

Over the years, the Centre has collaborated with a number of community groups, voluntary organisations and statutory health providers to conduct research on the broad health and social needs of immigrant groups. We've also worked on specific health topics for minority ethnic groups such as cancer, sexual maltreatment, endometriosis, health promotion, drug and substance misuse, mental health, maternal health, sexual and reproductive health.

Examples of these studies can be found in Papadopoulos I. (2006) (Ed) Transcultural Health and Social Care: Development of Culturally Competent Practitioners. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. Edinburgh. ISBN 13: 978 0 443 10131 1.

Tools and methodologies

In addition to the PTT model mentioned above, the Centre has contributed to the development of tools and innovative research approaches. For example, our tool for measuring cultural competence (CCATool) is one of the very few validated tools for this purpose and has been the focus of a number of doctoral studies. It has also been modified and translated in languages including Danish, Hebrew, Greek and Portuguese.

The Centre has developed a unique approach to research, the 'Culturally Competent Model of Research', as well as other research methods such as the reconstructed stories, and the use of audio diaries.

Committed team

The Centre is headed by Professor Irena Papadopoulos. We also employ research assistants and fellows, as needed for projects. A number of teachers from the School of Health and Education are members of the Centre, either for their own research development or as co-researchers.

Projects are developed and run in partnership with other universities and healthcare providers in the UK and Europe, as well as with relevant non-governmental organisations. Nine research students attached to the Centre have already completed their studies and three are currently progressing at different stages.

Funding sources

The Centre has received funding from European, national and local sources. These include the EU Life Long Learning Programme, the EU Erasmus/Socrates programme, the Department of Health, the National Institute for Health Research, the North Central London Workforce Development Confederation, the National Lottery, The Welsh Assembly Government, Macmillan Cancer Relief fund and various London Boroughs.

For more information please contact Professor Irena Papadopoulos at r.papadopoulos@mdx.ac.uk

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