HSC Education Days

Document Type


Publication Date



The mental status exam (MSE) is a tool used in psychiatry and behavioral health to create a cross-sectional assessment of the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive status of patients. This tool serves clinicians to understand and communicate a patient’s current psychiatric state but can be problematic when applied without consideration of provider bias or patient identity within the larger system. The inherently subjective nature of the MSE can assessments that perpetuate biases and inequities when providers are unaware of the complex interactions of identity, culture, power, and privilege. One possible solution is to teach learners to identify the dually subjective and objective nature of the MSE and apply the tool with cultural humility. In the spring of 2022, PGY-1 psychiatry residents at the Albuquerque VA were taught a new curriculum titled Mental Status Exam: Nuts and Bolts, Frames and Mirrors. This eight-class course examined the elements of the mental status exam within the framework of cultural humility. Through clinical cases and audiovisual examples, learners were introduced to the elements of the MSE and asked to consider how the identity, culture, and lived experiences of both the clinician and patient impacted assessment. Through facilitator guided group discussion and personal reflection, learners examined the MSE as a tool for psychiatric assessment as well as an avenue for cultural empathy. This conference session will introduce the core concepts of cultural humility, discuss one curriculum designed to deliver core content knowledge with cultural humility, and provide opportunities for participants to reflect on their own clinical and personal experiences with cultural humility.


This poster was presented during the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Education Days.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.