Making the invisible visible: How cultural hegemony and uncertainty help us understand health professional education inequities


  • Michelle Lazarus Centre for Human Anatomy Education, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  • Gabriel García Ochoa School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  • Mandy Truong Monash Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  • Gabrielle Brand Monash Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia



cultural hegemony, uncertainty, diversity, equity, inclusion, health professional education


Despite societal, financial and wellbeing costs related to discrimination, and increasing literature on improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), sustainable movements towards addressing health professional education (HPE) system inequities remain elusive. Here, we critically examine contemporary HPE systems, exploring how invisible barriers prevent meaningful DEI action. We draw on cultural hegemony and its relationship to unconscious/implicit bias within HPE’s culture. We also explore how DEI initiatives can introduce uncertainty and often challenge our uncertainty tolerance while addressing HPE system inequities. Drawing on uncertainty-identity theory, we explain how HPE professionals’ diverse responses to the discomfort typically provoked by such DEI initiatives may impact meaningful cultural change. Collectively, this critical reflection of HPE practices highlights challenges and suggests potential solutions for addressing persistent inequities across Australia and New Zealand HPE systems.


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How to Cite

Lazarus, M., García Ochoa, G., Truong, M., & Brand, G. (2023). Making the invisible visible: How cultural hegemony and uncertainty help us understand health professional education inequities. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 24(3), 115–125.



ANZAHPE 50th Anniversary Collection