Core components of an anti-racist approach among health professions educators: an integrative review

Int J Med Educ. 2023 Sep 15;14:131-136. doi: 10.5116/ijme.64e9.b6b4.


Objectives: This integrative literature review aimed to identify the core elements of an anti-racist approach among health professions educators.

Methods: We searched five databases CINAHL (EBSCOhost), ERIC (ProQuest Dissertations & Thesis Global), EMBASE (Ovid), MEDLINE (Ovid), and Web of Science (Social Sciences Citation Index, Citation Index Expanded) in March 2021. The search strategy combined concepts related to anti-racist pedagogies in the context of health professions education by educators in any capacity. From 1,755 results, we selected 249 manuscripts published in English or French between 2008 and 2021 based on titles and abstracts. After reviewing the full texts, we selected the 48 most relevant sources. We extracted data regarding knowledge, skills, and attitudes in reference to anti-racist approaches or surrogate terms. Within each category, we grouped similar data using a conceptual map.

Results: Analysis of the selected sources revealed that, for health professions educators, engaging in an anti-racist pedagogical approach requires more than incorporating racialized perspectives and content into the classroom. It rather rests on three interrelated components: developing a critical understanding of power relationships, moving toward a critical consciousness, and taking action at individual and organizational levels.

Conclusions: This review sheds light on knowledge, attitudes and skills that educators must deploy to adopt an anti-racist approach competently. This approach is a learned, intentional, and strategic effort in which health professions educators incorporate anti-racism into their teaching and apply anti-racist values to their various spheres of influence. This ongoing process strives for institutional and structural changes and requires whole-system actions.

Keywords: anti-racist pedagogy; health professions education; integrative review; racism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiracism*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Health Facilities
  • Health Occupations*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge