Unit for Diversity Competence (UDC) in Healthcare and Healthcare Education

Following the approval by the University Senate and Council, the Unit for Diversity Competence (UDC) in Healthcare and Healthcare Education was officially launched in September 2023 and operates under the UNIC Health umbrella.

Mission and objectives

The mission of the UDC is to nurture an inclusive and culturally competent environment within our healthcare community. The objectives of UDC are:

  • Training & Support: UDC will offer support and training in diversity and cultural competence in healthcare to staff, faculty and students of the Medical School, School of Veterinary Medicine, and School of Life and Health Sciences.
  • Guidance for Affiliates: UDC will provide support and guidance to all UNIC Health affiliated healthcare organisations in working effectively with diverse patients.
  • Research & Development: UDC will develop or participate in research projects and collaborations, and will publish in the area of diversity and cultural competence.

Trainings and curriculum development

The following trainings are intended for members of staff and faculty, students, medical doctors and veterinary doctors of the University of Nicosia.

  • Diversity, Equality, and Communication in the Workplace
  • Diversity and Cultural Competence in Healthcare
  • Diversity and Ethics in Healthcare
  • Working Effectively with Interpreters

What our participants say:

ʺIt was eye-opening in the sense that it highlighted behaviours which we might engage in unconsciously but which can be in fact harmful.ʺ

ʺI learned several things but the most interesting was the importance of active listening.ʺ

ʺWhat we have learned, it is very helpful, to apply in the workplace.ʺ

ʺI liked the fact that we did not sit through a lecture, but it was more interactive and engaging with my colleagues.ʺ

In addition to trainings, UDC has developed curriculum in diversity and cultural competence for the following academic programmes of the University of Nicosia: MD (Medical Doctor), GEMD (Graduate Entry Medical Doctor), Veterinary Medicine, and Nursing. Curriculum involves theory, research findings, cases, and skills. Learning objectives are examined in written exams and OSCEs.

Selected research outputs

The team working for UDC has generated the following peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations:


  • Constantinou S.C. (2023). Need for widely applicable cultural competencies in the healthcare of humans and animals. Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, 3(3), 956-963.
  • Constantinou S.C. and Nikitara M. (2023). The culturally competent healthcare professional: the RESPECT competencies from a systematic review of Delphi studies. Societies, 13, 127.
  • Constantinou S.C., Andreou P, Nikitara M., and Papageorgiou A. (2022). Cultural Competence in healthcare and healthcare education (editorial). Societies. 12(6), 178.
  • Ranabhat P, Nikitara M., Latzourakis E., and Constantinou S.C. (2022). Effectiveness of nurses’ training in identifying, reporting and handling elderly abuse: a systematic literature review. Geriatrics, 7(5), 108.
  • Constantinou S.C., Ng T. A., Becker C., Enayati Zadeh P., and Papageorgiou A. (2021). The use of interpreters in medical education: a narrative literature review. Societies. 2021; 11(3):70.
  • Constantinou S.C., Andreou P., Papageorgiou A., and McCrorie P. (2020). Critical reflection on own beliefs as a fundamental skill for cultural competence: an analysis of tutors’ reflective narratives. Qualitative Research in Education, 9(3), 273-299.
  • Constantinou S.C., Papageorgiou A, Andreou P., and McCrorie P. (2020). How to integrate cultural competence in medical curricula: learning from a new medical programme. MedEdPublish 9, [1],11.
  • Burholt V., Winte B., Aartsen M., Constantinou S.C., Dahlberg L., Feliciano V., de Jong Geirveld J., van Regenmortel S., Waldegrave C., and Walsh K. (2019). A critical review and development of a conceptual model of exclusion from social relations for older people. European Journal of Ageing, 17:3-19.
  • Constantinou, S.C., Papageorgiou A., Samoutis G., and McCrorie P. (2018). Acquire, apply and activate knowledge: a pyramid model for teaching and integrating cultural competence in medical curricula. Patient Education and Counselling. 101: 1147-1151.

Journal topics and special issues

  • Constantinou, S.C., Dikomitis L., and Kampriani E. (2022). Diversity competence and social inequalities (Topic). Journals: Societies; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; Healthcare; European Journal of Investigation in Health Psychology; Education International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Constantinou, S.C., Dikomitis L., and Kampriani E. (2022). Teaching social sciences and humanities in medicine, allied health and social care (Topic). Journals: Societies; Humanities; Healthcare; European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education; Education Sciences
  • Constantinou, S.C., Andreou P., Nikitara M., and Papageorgiou A. (2022). Cultural competence in healthcare and healthcare education (Special Issue). Societies 

Conference and other formal presentations

  • Diversity, Equality, and Communication in the Workplace: Α Training Programme, International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH), Zaragoza, Spain, Residencia de Estudiantes Ramón Pignatelli, Sep 9-13, 2024.
  • The challenges of teaching and evaluating intercultural competence in medical education – experiences from Austria, Cyprus and Switzerland, in Conference Developing Intercultural Competencies in Online and Physical Environments, Utrecht, The Netherlands, Dec 03, 2021.
  • Teaching and assessing cultural competence in medical curricula: the case of the University of Nicosia Medical School, in BeSST Virtual Conference Future Directions in Social and Behavioural Sciences in Medical Education, section Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, September 10, 2021.
  • Applying social sciences in healthcare practice: the case of cultural competence, 8th International Conference on Social Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria. July 16-17, 2020.
  • Integrating cultural competence in medical curricula: the case of the University of Nicosia Medical School, Erasmus faculty mobility, University of Copenhagen, June 12, 2019.
  • Examining Cultural Competence in OSCEs, conference Educating the future healthcare professionals and the roles of the teacher, Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), Basel, Switzerland, August 25-29, 2018.

Members of UDC

  • Professor Alexia Papageorgiou 
  • Professor of Clinical Communication and Chair of the Centre of Medical Education

  • Professor Costas Constantinou
  • Professor of Medical Sociology and Director of UDC

  • Dr Danagra Ikossi
  • Clinical Associate Professor and the Programme Director for the Graduate Entry MD programme

  • Dr Eirini Kampriani
  • Assistant Professor in Medical Anthropology and Medical Ethics

  • Ms Ifi Christoforou
  • Human Resource Manager

  • Dr Kyriakos Spanoudes
  • Clinician Assistant Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine

  • Dr Monica Nikitara
  • Assistant Professor in Nursing

  • Dr Panayiota Andreou
  • Associate Professor in Clinical Communication


For any queries in relation to UDC and/ or diversity competence in healthcare, please contact Prof Costas Constantinou at [email protected]