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NJ Cultural Competency

In 2005 the Legislature enacted law requiring the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners in consultation with the Commission on Higher Education to prescribe requirements, by regulation, for physician training in cultural competency . (See N.J.S.A. 45:9-7.2 and 7.3)

The regulations relating to cultural competency training were adopted in their final form on April 7, 2008. (See N.J.A.C. 13:35-6.25)

You are encouraged to read the Statute and Regulations for a complete review of the requirements. Links above have been provided for your convenience in accessing this material.

The legislation requires that all medical schools in New Jersey provide include instruction to their current and future students in cultural competency. This instruction is required as a condition of receiving a diploma from a college of medicine in New Jersey. New Jersey medical schools are also required to provide cultural competency CME instruction for licensed physicians who were not required to and did not receive cultural competency training in their medical school curriculum. The required curriculum in cultural competency training has become more prevalent in medical schools since 2005. The curriculum required can not be assumed to be included in medical, osteopathic and podiatric schools operating outside of New Jersey. (See question #9 below if you believe that your medical school curriculum meets the NJBME requirements)

  1. Is this training required repeatedly for each license renewal?
  2. How much training is required?
  3. Does this training have to be formally accredited CME education?
  4. Are there specific topics that must be covered in the accredited CME education on cultural competency in order to meet the Board’s requirements?
  5. When does the Board expect that this training should be completed?
  6. Is the cultural competency CME counted towards fulfilling the Board’s general 100 hour CME requirement?
  7. Does this requirement apply even when licensees are not currently practicing in New Jersey?
  8. Must licensees who hold fully retired or inactive licenses comply with this requirement?
  9. Are there situations where a waiver may be obtained?
  10. Would participation in accredited CME courses meeting the curriculum requirements prior to final adoption of the rules described here be acceptable for meeting the requirement?
  11. Does the requirement have to be met by attending a single course or can the requirement be met by attendance at various courses which when taken together meet the requirement?
  12. What documents will a licensee be required to provide that demonstrate compliance with the cultural competency training requirements?
  13. Can this CME be obtained online or using an enduring materials format?
  1. Is this training required repeatedly for each license renewal?
    No. Physicians licensed on or before June 29, 2007 and podiatrists licensed on or before October 30, 2007 are required to comply with the cultural competency training requirement by the next license renewal after March 24, 2008.

    Physicians licensed on or after June 30, 2007 and podiatrists licensed on or after October 31, 2007 are required to comply with the requirement by the end of the next complete renewal cycle after licensure.
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  2. How much training is required?
    Licensees must complete at least 6 hours of training in cultural competency in the six topics discussed in question #4 below.
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  3. Does this training have to be formally accredited CME education?
    Yes, all 6 hours must be approved for credit in one of the following categories:
    • AMA Cat I
    • AOA Cat 1A, 1B or 2A
    • AAFP Prescribed hours
    • COPME Contact Hours

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  4. Are there specific topics that must be covered in the accredited CME education on cultural competency in order to meet the Board’s requirements?
    Yes. There are 6 specific topics that must be covered in the accredited cultural competency CME in order to meet the Board requirements. These 6 topics are listed below.
    1. A context for the training, common definitions of cultural competence, race, ethnicity and culture and tools for self assessment.
    2. An appreciation for the traditions and beliefs of diverse patient populations, at multiple levels- as individuals, in families and as part of a larger community.
    3. An understanding of the impact that stereotyping can have on medical decision making.
    4. Strategies for recognizing patterns of health care disparities and eliminating factors influencing them.
    5. Approaches to enhance cross-cultural skills, such as those relating to history-taking, problem solving and promoting patient compliance.
    6. Techniques to deal with language barriers and other communication needs, including working with interpreters.

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  5. When does the Board expect that this training should be completed?
    Physicians licensed on or before June 29, 2007 and podiatrists licensed on or before October 30, 2007 are required to comply with the cultural competency training requirement prior to their 2009 license renewal.

    Physicians licensed on or after June 30, 2007 and podiatrists licensed on or after October 31, 2007 are required to comply with the requirement before the end of the next complete renewal cycle after licensure. A5
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  6. Is the cultural competency CME counted towards fulfilling the Board’s general 100 hour CME requirement?
    For physicians licensed prior to March 24, 2005 the cultural competency training requirement can not be included in the 100 hour CME requirement for licensure renewal. The law specifically required that this group of physicians complete this training in addition to the usual CME required for relicensure.

    For podiatrists and physicians licensed after March 24, 2005 the cultural competency training requirement can be included in the 100 hour CME requirement for licensure renewal.
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  7. Does this requirement apply even when licensees are not currently practicing in New Jersey?
    Yes, it is a condition for renewal of your New active or reduced fee active New Jersey medical license whether or not you actively practice in New Jersey.
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  8. Must licensees who hold fully retired or inactive licenses comply with this requirement?
    Physicians whose licenses are fully retired or inactive are not required to demonstrate compliance with this requirement until such time as they seek reinstatement of their license to active or reduced fee active status.
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  9. Are there situations where a waiver may be obtained?
    A licensee may request a waiver from this requirement by providing the Board of Medical Examiners with independently verified materials demonstrating that he or she has attained the substantial equivalent of the required training through completion of a similar course of training in an approved professional school, or graduate medical education program which training must include the six required topics #4 above.
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  10. Would participation in accredited CME courses meeting the curriculum requirements prior to final adoption of the rules described here be acceptable for meeting the requirement?
    Yes. Participation in courses which meet the requirements of the regulation taken prior to final rule adoption will be acceptable for demonstrating compliance.
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  11. Does the requirement have to be met by attending a single course or can the requirement be met by attendance at various courses which when taken together meet the requirement?
    The Board believes that ease of compliance and quality educational experience are better obtained by participating in one or two courses which are designed specifically around the NJBME requirements. A licensee may demonstrate compliance using any combination of accredited CME courses which can be shown to include all of the required topics.
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  12. What documents will a licensee be required to provide that demonstrate compliance with the cultural competency training requirements?
    Licensees should maintain certificates documenting CME attendance for a minimum of 6 years. Additionally, in order to demonstrate compliance with each of the topic areas required in the cultural competence regulation you should keep evidence of the specific curriculum covered in the course(s) along with your certificates of completion. (e.g. brochures, course outlines, materials distributed in the course etc.)
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  13. Can this CME be obtained online or using an enduring materials format?
    Yes. Any properly accredited CME course that meets the requirements in #3 and #4 above is acceptable regardless of its format.
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