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