Addressing racial inequalities in dental education: decolonising the dental curricula

Br Dent J. 2021 Feb;230(3):165-169. doi: 10.1038/s41415-020-2598-z. Epub 2021 Feb 12.


The aim of this paper is to highlight the impact of racial disparities on the educational experiences of Black and minority ethnic students in healthcare education. Attainment gaps and barriers to career progression for minority ethnic home students in the United Kingdom have been recognised for decades, but little progress has been made to address these issues. Students and staff in higher education have been campaigning for 'decolonisation of the curriculum' to improve inclusivity and representation. These trends are being mirrored in medical education and there is growing recognition to decolonise the medical curricula. This would improve the educational experience and attainment of minority ethnic students and doctors, and would also help to address disparities in healthcare provision for minority ethnic patients. The context for decolonisation of the dental curricula is provided, followed by a discussion on the benefits, challenges and strategies for such decolonisation.