Recreating the future - Indigenous research paradigms in health professional education research


Introduction: Health and self-determination are recognised as universal human rights. Health professional education research and practice hold the capacity to prioritise values, worldviews and agendas that envisage sustainable and equitable futures for the entire community served. This paper explores the need for the co-location of Indigenous research paradigms in health professional education research and teaching. Indigenous communities have a long history of science, research and sustainable living and are holders of ways of knowing, being and doing that can shape actions and priorities in health research that value equity and sustainability.

Discussion: Knowledge construction in health professional education research does not occur in isolation nor is it value neutral. A continued dominance of the biomedical approach to health creates a system of innovation that is unbalanced and unable to deliver health outcomes demanded by contemporary society. As power and hierarchies are embedded in health professional education research and praxis, transformative action is required to bring forth marginalised voices in research processes. Critical reflexivity regarding the ontological, epistemological, axiological and methodological positioning of researchers is an important step towards creating and sustaining research structures that effectively value and co-locate different perspectives in knowledge production and translation.

Conclusion: Working towards more equitable and sustainable futures for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities requires health care systems to be informed and guided by different knowledge paradigms. This can work to avoid the ongoing reproduction of inefficient biomedical structures and purposefully disrupt the status quo of health inequities. Realising this requires the effective co-location of Indigenous research paradigms and ways of working into health professional education research that centre relationality, wholism, interconnectedness and self-determination. This calls for a raising of the critical consciousness of health professional education research academies.


self-determination, healthcare, Aboriginal Australians, community health

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