Salford lecturers have article on decolonising curriculum published

Categories: School of Health and Society

An article by University of Salford Midwifery lecturers and EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) leads Georgia Allan and Sheridan Thomas has been published in The Practising Midwife.

The article discusses the importance of decolonising the midwifery curriculum in order to improve outcomes for patients. The authors also explain the approach that has been taken at the University of Salford to create an inclusive and antiracist programme, supporting students in becoming holistic, compassionate and culturally-safe future midwives. 

Media reports in recent years have highlighted the increased risks that Black and Asian people are put under during pregnancy and birth, and research shows that harmful beliefs that Black and Brown bodies are biologically and fundamentally different to White bodies still persist in healthcare. The effects of these racial stereotypes mean that despite requests for analgesia, Black and Asian women are less likely to receive pain relief during childbirth compared to their White counterparts.

In the article, Sheridan (pictured above, left) and Georgia (pictured on the right) explain that decolonising the curriculum means: “developing an understanding of the historical and political effects of colonialism on healthcare, in order to address how those accessing maternity care can still be disadvantaged by it today. Through acknowledging the impact of colonial history and having open conversations about race, racism and bias, midwifery education can begin to foster a learning environment that promotes cultural safety and humility which has been identified as a key mechanism for improving care and outcomes.”

Georgia explains that at the University of Salford, staff have committed to increase their knowledge on race-related issues. She says: “This means they can take effective and meaningful action in becoming allies, promoting culturally-safe practice and working to decolonise the curriculum. All members of staff have undertaken intensive maternity cultural-safety training and continue to engage in learning and development.”

In terms of students, Sheridan tells us: “Our students have annual cultural safety training and restorative circles that explore the effects of racism in maternity care, white privilege, and how economic status, class and access to opportunities can intersect to affect women and birthing people negatively. They are given the opportunity to discuss the effects of microaggressions in a safe space, fostering shared learning and giving opportunity to share lived experience and to encourage personal and professional introspection.”

She continues: “A lens of intersectionality is applied when discussing individualised person-centred care. This means acknowledging that someone’s experience of motherhood or parenthood is influenced by their gender, class, age, ableism, and ethnicity. Embedding intersectionality, cultural safety and the role of the midwife in providing inclusive care into our assessments enables on-going evaluation of our work, so we can see that it is robust and providing the best possible experience for our students and their future patients.”

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