International medical graduates (IMGs) comprise 26% of the U.S. physician work force. While IMGs bring all their knowledge and expertise, their pronunciation and intonation patterns often become a barrier in their ability to be understood. This breakdown in communication can affect physician-patient or physician-staff understanding and hence patient care. This study assessed the efficacy of an accent reduction program provided to IMGs and international medical researchers (IMRs) to address these communications problems. A pre and post course self-evaluation by the 82 participants, a pre and post audio-tape assessment by the course instructor, and a pre and post videotape assessment by two independent observers all pointed to significant improvement in their abilities to pronounce words distinctly, stress words or syllables more accurately and use body language/facial expressions appropriately. The results suggest that appropriate and focused training directed at improving the communication skills of non-native English speakers is highly effective.
Recommended CitationKhurana, Poonam and Huang, Edgar, Efficacy of Accent Modification Training for International Medical Professionals, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 10(2), 2013.