Exposing the Hidden Curriculum Influencing Medical Education on the Health of Indigenous People in Australia and New Zealand: The Role of the Critical Reflection Tool

Ewen, Shaun DEd; Mazel, Odette; Knoche, Debra MPPM

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823fd777
International Medical Education

The disparity in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand is widely known, and efforts to address this through medical education are evidenced by initiatives such as the Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools' Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework. These efforts have focused primarily on formal curriculum reform. In this article, the authors discuss the role of the hidden curriculum in influencing the teaching and learning of Indigenous health (i.e., the health of Indigenous people) during medical training and suggest that in order to achieve significant changes in learning outcomes, there needs to be better alignment of the formal and hidden curriculum. They describe the Critical Reflection Tool as a potential resource through which educators might begin to identify the dimensions of their institution's hidden curricula. If used effectively, the process may guide institutions to better equip medical school graduates with the training necessary to advance changes in Indigenous health.

Dr. Ewen is interim director, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, deputy director, Centre for Health and Society, Melbourne School of Population Health, and associate dean (Indigenous Development), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Ms. Mazel is program manager, Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, Centre for Health and Society, Melbourne School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Ms. Knoche is research fellow, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Tobacco Control and Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, Centre for Health and Society, Melbourne School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Correspondence should be addressed to Ms. Mazel, LIME Project, Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Level 4 / 207 Bouverie St., Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 3010; telephone: (61) 3-83449160; e-mail: omazel@unimelb.edu.au.

First published online December 20, 2011

© 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges