Lindsay Macdonald is a registered dental hygienist and Instructor at the Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University. She recently completed her Master of Health Studies with a focus in Leadership at AU. Her Master’s thesis research centred on exploring EDIA capacity in dental education. Her research interests include equity and inclusivity issues in health education and the communication of institutional policy into learning environments.
Title: “We talk teeth”: Constructing a new narrative of EDIA (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Access) capacity in dental education using hermeneutic inquiry
EDIA (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Access) is recognized as an area of priority development within dentistry and dental hygiene education. The creation of equitable and inclusive learning environments is conducive to diversity development with positive implications for supporting underrepresented students within dental programs. Faculty members are identified as key drivers of shaping the culture, attitudes, and behaviours within this environment. However, there is currently little evidence to inform how faculty members perceive their personal and institutional EDIA capacity.
The aims of this study were to answer the following: i) How do dental faculty perceive their personal EDIA capacity and that of the Faculty of Dentistry in supporting underrepresented students? and ii) What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of current Faculty EDIA development at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Dentistry?
Hermeneutic inquiry using a convenience sample of dental faculty members and semi-structured interviews were used in this study.
Findings revealed an emphasis on EDIA related to ethnicity/culture and six dominant interpretations impacting capacity at the Faculty of Dentistry. Knowledge of EDIA language, interfaculty communication and institutional EDIA messaging are identified as weaknesses while community building and informal channels for EDIA development are identified as novel strengths meriting prioritization institutionally. Motivation to engage in EDIA by dental faculty members overall is illuminated in relation to human emotion.
The findings offer a new narrative of current EDIA capacity at the Faculty of Dentistry and identifies viable pathways for EDIA development in dental education with transferability to other health education programs.