Equity and eHealth

In yesterday’s class (Teaching in Higher Education), Dr. Rona Abramovitch lectured on the topic of discussion was “equity issues in teaching and the academy”. Without getting into too much detail, the overall point of the lecture was to create a more inclusive classroom by trying to accomodate different cultural, social, economic, religious, gender, racial,…. backgrounds. Honestly, I struggled with some of the concepts a bit. Partly, I was reminded of some of the discussions that Nancy Davis Halifax (a former post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation) and I used to have. **Aside: You can see the outline of a course she’s currently teaching called “Doing disability theory and everyday“.

Nancy is a feminist interested in arts-informed research, especially in the area of health. She pointed out one day how the field of ehealth/health informatics was so male-dominated. I wasn’t sure how to respond because I had never thought about it. Her point was that we are all subject to different power relationships, be it gender, socio-economic or other. Anyway, the link back to the lecture was that we all make assumptions about shared-knowledge and experiences of our colleagues (and in the context of the class, the students). How do we accommodate the different backgrounds, experiences, and “worldviews”?

My next question is whether these types of questions need to be asked in ehealth/health informatics. For sure, ehealth/health informatics is better suited to affluent societies like Canada, but what is the impact on the rest of the world? I’m not sure what to think about this topic. I am acutely aware of how my training affects how I conceptualize the issues and questions in the field, but maybe I need to be more basic than that.

I think I need to do some more thinking on the subject in terms of how I conduct my own research, but also in how to teach in this field. Maybe I’ll do some library research on the subject to see if anything has been written about it. Hmm…equity issues in ehealth.



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