Toward Health Equity in Neuroscience: Current Resources and Considerations for Culturally Broadening Educational Curricula

Ashley Lawson, Catherine Lee, Judy Illes

Abstract


Background: Health literacy is essential for health equity and past metrics show that literacy is best supported by early exposure to the wide range of topics that constitute physical and mental health. Many outstanding educational resources from around the world are available specifically for the neurosciences, but the wealth of knowledge offered from the peer-reviewed literature has not been centrally organized. Absent from such a resource as well are explicit methods for customizing teaching that maximizes meaningfulness to students and teachers with different backgrounds and enriches inclusivity of the field.

Methods: We reviewed and summarized neuroscience curriculum resources published in the academic literature with elaboration about their type, target audiences, formats, and reported outcomes. We similarly summarized peer-reviewed articles drawn from Canadian-based publications on Indigenous teachings about mind and brain as a lens for adapting and augmenting neuroscience and discourse on brain and mind.

Results: We deliver a consolidated resource of conventional tools for teaching neuroscience based on 13 peer-reviewed publications in neuroscience. We discuss and expand on them with methods from 18 Indigenous academic writings on science, and brain and mind.

Conclusions: To meet the goals of global access to health equity and realize a diverse workforce in the basic and clinical neurosciences that is representative of the population, educational approaches must be both strategic and culturally sensitive. The task starts with reaching youth at the earliest stages and nurturing their curiosity and providing culturally meaningful tools to their teachers to advance their passion for neuroscience.




J Neurol Res. 2022;12(2):76-91
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jnr720

Keywords


Health equity; Neuroscience; Indigenous; Educational approaches; Mental health; Curriculum

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