Salford lecturers help develop toolkit to decolonise midwifery education

Categories: School of Health and Society

University of Salford Midwifery lecturers and EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) leads Georgia Allan and Sheridan Thomas have worked with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to develop the first ever ‘Decolonising Midwifery Education Toolkit’.

The toolkit has been designed for midwifery educators and those involved in student recruitment, curriculum development and practice education. It aims to ensure education is inclusive and addresses the diverse maternity care needs of women and birthing people from the global majority, as well as helping improve the experiences of global majority students. 

The university has also been used as a case study by the RCM to provide an example of how midwifery education can put the toolkit into action.

The case study, which Georgia and Sheridan helped to write as midwifery EDI leads, reads:

"The Midwifery team at The University of Salford are actively engaged in working to create an inclusive, decolonised, and Anti-Racist curricula to support students in their journey to becoming culturally safe, inclusive and compassionate future midwives. The team acknowledge that decolonising the curriculum is a continuous process and requires ongoing change, challenge and commitment. The first step to this was a commitment from all staff members to enhance their knowledge on social justice, culturally safe practice and the importance of decolonising the curricula; allowing for deeper comprehension of the history of racism and its effects on the current maternity system, higher education institutes and students. All staff undertake intensive maternity cultural safety and decolonising the curriculum training annually and have access to training packages such as the Union Black Training. The midwifery team has appointed EDI leads to develop a decolonising the curriculum strategy and is currently reviewing the ethnicity attainment gap.

“Annual cultural safety training has been implemented within the new curriculum across all years in all courses. Supporting this training are regular restorative circles facilitated by the Professional Midwifery Advocates within the team, holding space to explore the effects of racism in maternity care, white privilege, unconscious bias and how the intersectionality of race, class, economic status and access to opportunities combine to negatively affect women and birthing people. Students have weekly access to a student collective for Black, Asian and Racially Minoritised students, intended to create a safe space to share lived experience and explore the effects of microaggressions and foster an increased sense of belonging.  

“The curriculum content has been diversified and the euro-centric representation of knowledge is challenged within lectures. Simulation equipment is available in darker skin tones, and scenarios are utilised to teach students the skills of trauma informed care. Throughout the programme, students will have active bystander training, so they are equipped with the necessary skills to challenge discrimination in the workplace. All case studies include the person’s ethnicity and chosen pronouns alongside the clinical scenario, encouraging students to consider how their identity may affect their experience of care."

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