Medical Education to Enhance Critical Consciousness: Facilitators’ Experiences

Zareen Zaidi, Rashmi Vyaas, Danielle Verstegen, Page Morahan, Timothy Dornan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
283 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To analyze educators’ experiences of facilitating cultural discussions in two global health professions education programs and what these experiences had taught them about critical consciousness.

Method: A multicultural research team conducted in-depth interviews with sixteen faculty who had extensive experience facilitating cultural discussions. They analysed transcripts of the interviews thematically, drawing sensitising insights from Gramsci’s theory of cultural hegemony. Collaboration and conversation helped the team self-consciously examine their positions towards the dataset and be critically reflexive.

Results: Participant faculty used their prior experience facilitating cultural discussions to create a ‘safe space’ in which learners could develop critical consciousness. During multicultural interactions they recognized and explicitly addressed issues related to power differentials, racism, implicit bias and gender bias. They noted the need to be ‘facile in attending to pain’ as learners brought up traumatic experiences and other sensitive issues including racism and the impact of power dynamics. They built relationships with learners by juxtaposing and exploring the sometimes-conflicting norms of different cultures. Participants were reflective about their own understanding and tendency to be biased. They aimed to break free of such biases while role modeling how to have the courage to speak up.

Conclusions: Experience had given facilitators in multicultural programs an understanding of their responsibility to promote critical consciousness and social justice. How faculty without prior experience or expertise could develop those values and skills is a topic for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number11s
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2017


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