The way forward: strengthening health equity through social justice-based approaches in public health education

Diana Podar, Karl F. Conyard, Emma Schlegel, Mary Codd, Yudit Namer, Lisa Wandschneider

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Brief outline of the overall workshop: While health inequities in minoritised groups are increasingly well conceptualised and documented in public health research, the translation into public health education practice is still evolving. By now, several approaches have been developed to overcome this gap in public health education. Prominent approaches include, but are not limited to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), cultural competence programmes, intersectionality as an analytical framework and decolonisation based on scholarship activism. While these approaches differ in their theoretical underpinnings and address different levels of action needed, they ultimately aim to dismantle stigmatising practices and structures in public health institutions and promote health equity through social justice. Their implementation however comes with several challenges for public health professionals and academic institutions. In this workshop we propose to shed light on how such approaches can be implemented on a broader scale while remaining true to their underlying goal of promoting social justice. Specific aims/objectives and component parts: Using a round table format, we present three exemplary projects with a focus to strengthen health equity through social justice-based approaches. Together, we aim to reflect on barriers as well as potential synergistic effects that help to move forward in a sustainable way. The three presentations aim to reflect voices at different stages of their career and the public health workforce. First, Emma Schlegel presents results from an online survey among ASPHER (Association of Schools of Public Health in the European region) members on barriers and enablers in implementing diversity-driven and intersectional approaches in public health education. The perceived challenges included feeling overwhelmed by the range of topics, the lack of one’s own competence and of faculty expertise. As for enablers, participants reported that personal interest, interest from students on the topics and sufficient personal resources acted as enablers to implement these topics in teaching. Second, Karl F. Conyard and Prof Dr Mary Codd give insights on how social justice-based approaches are represented in the 6th edition of the ASPHER Core Competencies (to be launched in 2023) and how they can be linked to existing as well as new elements. Additionally, they discuss the role of ASPHER in this endeavor and its role as an exemplary guiding institution for the European context. Third, Diana Podar discusses the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in incorporating a decolonial lens in public health education and research within (European) schools of public health (SPHs) at the institutional level. Based on these three inputs addressing multiple levels including perspectives from public health professionals, the Core Competencies as an organizational guideline and SPHs as institutional contexts, we conclude the session with an interactive discussion with the audience, creating a space for interdisciplinary exchange and reflections on international experiences. The key questions that the workshop will address * How can we ensure to implement social justice-based approaches promoting health equity sustainably in public health education? * What kind of action is needed in our teaching practices, the institutional context and from associations like ASPHER?"
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-415
Number of pages1
JournalPopulation Medicine
Issue numberSpecial Issue Supplement
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event17th World Congress on Public Health, WCPH 2023 - Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 May 20236 May 2023
Conference number: 17


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