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A toolkit for decolonizing global emergency medicine education

  • Dozois, Adeline1
  • González Marqués, Catalina2
  • Thilakasiri, Kaushila3
  • Adeyeye, Adebisi Anthonia4
  • Leanza, Joseph5
  • Rybarczyk, Megan5
  • Depp, Timothy6
  • Wieland, Travis7
  • Karim, Naz8
  • Muchatuta, Monalisa9
  • Ali, Fahad8
  • Amer, Ahmed10
  • Garbern, Stephanie Chow8
  • Patel, Shama11
  • 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC , (United States)
  • 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA , (United States)
  • 3 Ministry of Health Sri Lanka, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Colombo , (Sri Lanka)
  • 4 College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos , (Nigeria)
  • 5 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA , (United States)
  • 6 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of South Carolina, Greenville, SC , (United States)
  • 7 UW Health University Hospital and Beloit Memorial Hospital, Madison, WI , (United States)
  • 8 Department of Emergency Medicine, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI , (United States)
  • 9 Department of Emergency Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY , (United States)
  • 10 Department of Emergency Medicine, Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY , (United States)
  • 11 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Florida, Jacksonville, FL , (United States)
Published Article
Frontiers in Education
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
Sep 08, 2023
DOI: 10.3389/feduc.2023.1214904
  • Education
  • Perspective


One of the tenets of global emergency medicine (GEM) is to create equitable relationships between high-resource and resource-denied countries to promote emergency care for all. Health interventions proposed by those working in GEM too often lack input from local and indigenous communities result in “voluntourism,” research authorship inequity, under-representation and under-valuation of technical expertise and lived experience of leaders from resource-denied countries. We present a decolonization toolkit with specific recommendations that target and disrupt counter-productive power dynamics in GEM education. We held a workshop at the 2022 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting to collectively develop strategies to address inequalities and increase diversity in GEM education. GEM practitioners were divided into small groups representing five thematic areas and asked to identify specific action items to address inequities related to their theme. Following the workshop, a group of authors reviewed small group responses and data was divided into themed qualitative matrices and recommendations were revised based on targeted literature review. Five thematic areas discussed included access, awareness and cultural humility, language, representation, and recognition. Specific recommendations and action items were created to address inequities related to these themes which can be applied by individuals and institutions in both HICs and LMICs. Despite being a relatively new academic discipline, GEM has replicated colonial structures that are prevalent in global health. However, using targeted recommendations described in our toolkit, individuals, and institutions can build a new framework for GEM that actively combats structural vulnerabilities and academic inequities.

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