Dismantling the master's house: new ways of knowing for equity and social justice in health professions education

Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2020 Nov 2;1-20. doi: 10.1007/s10459-020-10006-x. Online ahead of print.


Health professions education (HPE) is built on a structural foundation of modernity based on Eurocentric epistemologies. This foundation privileges certain forms of evidence and ways of knowing and is implicated in how dominant models of HPE curricula and healthcare practice position concepts of knowledge, equity, and social justice. This invited perspectives paper frames this contemporary HPE as the "Master's House", utilizing a term referenced from the writings of Audre Lorde. It examines the theoretical underpinnings of the "Master's House" through the frame of Quijano's concept of the Colonial Matrix of Power (employing examples of coloniality, race, and sex/gender). It concludes by exploring possibilities for how these Eurocentric structures may be dismantled, with reflection and discussion on the implications and opportunities of this work in praxis.

Keywords: Coloniality; Critical theory; Curricula; Decolonization; Equity; Health professions education; Medical education; Social justice.