The determinants of health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations include factors amenable to medical education’s influence—for example, the competence of the medical workforce to provide effective and equitable care to Indigenous populations. Medical education institutions have an important role to play in eliminating these inequities. However, there is evidence that medical education is not adequately fulfilling this role and, in fact, may be complicit in perpetuating inequities.
This article seeks to examine the factors underpinning medical education’s role in Indigenous health inequity, to inform interventions to address these factors. The authors developed a consensus statement that synthesizes evidence from research, evaluation, and the collective experience of an international research collaboration including experts in Indigenous medical education. The statement describes foundational processes that limit Indigenous health development in medical education and articulates key principles that can be applied at multiple levels to advance Indigenous health equity.
The authors recognize colonization, racism, and privilege as fundamental determinants of Indigenous health that are also deeply embedded in Western medical education. To contribute effectively to Indigenous health development, medical education institutions must engage in decolonization processes and address racism and privilege at curricular and institutional levels. Indigenous health curricula must be formalized and comprehensive, and must be consistently reinforced in all educational environments. Institutions’ responsibilities extend to advocacy for health system and broader societal reform to reduce and eliminate health inequities. These activities must be adequately resourced and underpinned by investment in infrastructure and Indigenous leadership.