Discrimination in the medical curriculum: are medical schools providing students with equal access to the medical profession?

doctors 2020

(Bill Oxford, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Anushree Burade, a fourth year medical student studying at ESIC Medical College, Bangalore, India. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


India is the 2nd most populous country in the world. That being said, it is extremely diverse in terms of sub – ethnicities, races, religions and languages spoken. Almost 19,500 different languages are spoken across entire India. And thus, this is one big barrier in providing efficient health care services to patients by health care professionals.

I’ve grown up in the central region of India – geographically speaking. And my entire life I’ve been speaking English, Marathi and Hindi. I joined a medical university in the southern part of India. The day I joined the university, I was taken by surprise with the amount of differences I witnessed. Students and staffs mainly communicated in English and Kannada. I was absolute rookie to kannada language. I enthusiastically tried to learn kannada and some of my beloved friends cheerfully helped me as well.

1st year of medical school was comparatively easy to me because I just had 3 subjects to study – anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Real struggle I faced when I actually entered in 2nd year when clinical postings started. I was completely shunned down by the native language speaking students. I tried my best to learn the language in order to make my patients comfortable. Studying entire language along with the vast syllabus of medicine is difficult and gradually, my grades dropped due to that frustration.

But hey, honestly language barrier was never the issue. Real problem was the discrimination I faced because of this language barrier. Many professors prejudice that north Indians and central Indians students are mischievous and don’t study adequately as compared to south indian students. Often before testing our knowledge and clinical skills or even our name, they would ask us the region we belong to. Some would even take the liberty to show their prejudice by their expressions and tone of talking. Some native language speaking students would even giggle at our rookie attempts to speak the local language.

Incidences like these demotivates incoming students, discourages them to involve into academic activities without any fear of being judged by the people around them. Medical School do not even provide basics of local language education to immigrant students in the medical curriculum. They are often judged by their skin colour as well. A fair skinned person is prejudiced to be belonging from northern India and dark skinned person from southern India. Same goes with the name, religion and accents. Groups are formed within the classes and students are addressed as entire group rather than being addressed individually.

Our fight was never against the variety of languages, races, ethnicities or religions. The unity in this diversity is what makes India great, they are part of it and we accept all of it gracefully. Our fight is against discrimination which leads to havocs and despairs amongst everyone including medical students. And we solemnly swear to fight until we make this world free of discrimination.

About the author

Anushree Burade is a fourth year medical student studying at ESIC Medical College, Bangalore, India. She is the current NEO GA for this term of 2020-21. She is passionate about making this world a better place to live – free of racism, discrimination, and inequality by voicing herself in the form of her writings and poems.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Refugees in Greece: MEPs demand solidarity, warn about impact of health crisis

European Youth, quo vadis?

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

Ending use of chemical weapons in Syria: ‘still work to be done’, says UN disarmament chief

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

UK economy in dire straits: leading banks now officially plan to Brexit too

Youth employment crisis easing but far from over

These 4 leaders are working to improve integration in Southeast Asia

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

Public Policies for LGBT in Brazil

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

‘Reef cubes’: could these plastic-free blocks help save the ocean?

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

To rebuild trust in the media, we must empower its consumers

Italy and Greece zeroed their fiscal deficits, expect Germany’s response

Sherpa climbers carried out the highest-ever spring clean. This is what they found

What companies gain by including persons with disabilities

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

The green hydrogen revolution has started, and it won’t be stopped

The EU resumes budget support assistance to the Republic of Moldova

The US repelled EU proposals on common rules for banks

This Kenyan company makes fuel from human poo

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Cities are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. These organizations are leading the urban response.

World Wildlife Day: UN chief urges ‘more caring’ relationship with nature

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK paper on EU citizens in the UK

6 ways to ensure AI and new tech works for – not against – humanity

Budget MEPs back €1.6 million to help 400 former workers of Carrefour Belgium

Art, mental health and suicide: different strategies for increasing access to health services

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus

Thought AIs could never replace human imagination? Think again

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

The scheming of Boris: win an election after a no-deal Brexit

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

With 5 billion set to miss out on health care, UN holds landmark summit to boost coverage

How our food system is eating away at nature, and our future

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

Harmonised Unemployment Rates (HURs), OECD – Updated: February 2020

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Meet the robot fighting back against coral reef destruction

Reimagining the future for skills: What we learned from young people

Brexit talks: Today the world to hear of a predictable failure

Climate Change and Human Health: Two Faces of The Same Coin

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

Leaders need hard data to make the hard decisions about sustainability

UN chief welcomes announcement by Emir of Qatar to allocate $50 million to support Syrian refugees, displaced persons

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

Health privatisation: reviving Alma-Ata

‘Make healthy choices’ urges UN agency, to prevent and manage chronic diabetes

Digital distrust: We’re losing faith in technology to solve the world’s problems

Commission notifies the Republic of Panama over the need to step up action to fight against illegal fishing

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Successful carbon removal depends on these 3 conditions

Here are 5 new green laws coming into force in 2020

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

Coronavirus: First case confirmed in Gulf region, more than 6,000 worldwide

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

Tech companies could achieve much more by serving the common good. Here’s 3 steps they should take

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s