Physician Posture at the Bedside: A Study of African-American and Hispanic Patient Preferences at a Teaching Hospital

Arjun Gupta, Sai Madhavapeddi, Avash Das, Samar Harris, Harris Naina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The physician-patient interaction is central to any clinical encounter. Although the technical components of the interaction are conveyed by verbal communication, the nonverbal cues are instrumental in setting up the physician-patient relationship and carrying it forward. Often, patient preferences in terms of non-verbal communication cues depend on the ethnicity of the patient. In this article, we present a study of Hispanic and African-American patients regarding their preference of physician posture. Together, these groups represent almost one third of the U.S. population. In our study, a majority of patients preferred their physicians to be seated during the medical interview. Although these results were similar across cultural groups, subtle differences were observed in patient preference regarding other nonverbal communication methods by physicians. It is important for physicians to be aware of these differences. Including course-work that highlights cultural sensitivities in the medical school curriculum is a good way to create awareness among the next generation of physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-146
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Medical Practice Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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