The terrible "C word": Dismantling coloniality and hegemonic structures in health education
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University of Ghent, Belgium
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A668
Background: There is increasing recognition of hegemonic structures in global (public) health, from its colonial legacy to contemporary decision-making and governance. Power structures are often perpetuated through health education that instils Eurocentric perspectives and methodologies. While public health academics have long called for the decolonization of health education, there is limited evidence of such initiatives in European higher education institutions. With this gap in mind, a student-led project was launched within the University of Ghent to examine and address hegemonic structures in health education. The aims of the project were to (I) co-develop recommendations to dismantle power structures within the university, and (II) assess the implementation of these recommendations. Methods: An exploratory study was conducted consisting of a series of interviews and workshops with students and staff of the University of Ghent’s Medical Faculty from February - August 2022. A co-creation approach was used to co-develop a set of actionable recommendations. These recommendations were tested, and a qualitative inquiry was conducted to explore the perspectives of students and staff regarding the acceptability and feasibility of these initiatives. Results: The project highlighted three focal areas for change; (I) diversification of teaching staff, (III) decolonisation of curriculum, and (III) North-South equity. A set of targeted policy recommendations were formulated, with a select few being tested, such as digital learning to include foreign guest lecturers, sensitisation courses, buddy programmes for North-South knowledge exchange, and sensitisation for students going abroad. Implementation barriers and facilitators were highlighted, including the importance of student engagement and the need for systemic changes. Conclusions: This project effectively moves the decoloniality discourse in academia from rhetoric to action. The findings can inform efforts to train a new generation of health professionals that are better equipped to address power dynamics and achieve equity in public health.
The violence of curriculum: Dismantling systemic racism, colonisation and indigenous erasure within medical education
Saleem Razack, Lisa Richardson, Suntosh R. Pillay
Medical Education
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