Promoting social justice through palliative care research

(Merryn writes…) It was great to have the opportunity to gave a presentation last week for University College London exploring equity in palliative care. I had to get up at 4.15am, but it was worth it to connect with an international audience! You can download my slides – which include references to the work I discussed – below. You can also find a link to my presentation on YouTube.

In brief I argued that, for palliative care to move to a place where equity can be realised, there needs be a fundamental shift in where we start our discussions. Rather than focusing on the Other – groups we describe as “marginalized” and “disadvantaged” – most of us need to start by focusing on ourselves. Otherwise we only consider one outcome of the social structures which produce inequity and privilege remains invisible.

Ultimately all members of the palliative care community need to commit to promoting social justice in our work: I provided examples of how researchers can do this. We also need to be prepared for difficult conversations which recognize that pursuing a social justice agenda within palliative care will require resources to be redistributed and power to be shared. However, such work is vital if the inequitable status quo is ever to change.

The plan is to turn this into an editorial – when time allows! I’ll keep our blog readers posted.

You can download my slides here: final-presentation-mg

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