Educational Strategies to Enhance Reflexivity Among Clinicians and Health Professional Students: A Scoping Study

  • Rachel Landy Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Cathy Cameron University of Toronto
  • Anson Au London School of Economics
  • Debra Cameron University of Toronto
  • Kelly K. O'Brien University of Toronto
  • Katherine Robrigado University of Toronto
  • Larry Baxter
  • Lynn Cockburn University of Toronto
  • Shawna O'Hearn Dalhousie Unversity
  • Brent Oliver Mount Royal University
  • Stephanie Nixon University of Toronto
Keywords: reflexivity, health professional education, practicing health professionals, scoping study


Reflexivity involves the ability to understand how one's social locations and experiences of advantage or disadvantage have shaped the way one understands the world. The capacity for reflexivity is crucial because it informs clinical decisions, which can lead to improvements in service delivery and patient outcomes. In this article, we present a scoping study that explored educational strategies designed to enhance reflexivity among clinicians and/or health profession students. We reviewed articles and grey literature that address the question: What is known about strategies for enhancing reflexivity among clinicians and students in health professional training programs? We searched multiple databases using keywords including: reflexivity, reflective, allied health professionals, pedagogy, learning, and education. The search strategy was iterative and involved three reviews. Each abstract was independently reviewed by two team members. Sixty-eight texts met the inclusion criteria. There was great diversity among the educational strategies and among health professions. Commonalities across strategies were identified related to reflective writing, experiential learning, classroom-based activities, continuing education, and online learning. We also summarize the 19 texts that evaluated educational strategies to enhance reflexivity. Further research and education is urgently needed for more equitable and socially-just health care.



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Author Biographies

Rachel Landy, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Rachel LANDY, MA, is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research focuses on the development of decolonizing, arts-based HIV and sexual health education for Indigenous youth in Canada.

Cathy Cameron, University of Toronto

Cathy CAMERON, MHSc, is the coordinator, International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation in Canada. She conducts research and evaluation projects related to HIV, rehabilitation and disability.

Anson Au, London School of Economics

Anson AU, MSc in social research methodology, is a researcher in the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics, UK. His research focuses on social determinants of health, sociological methodology, and politics.

Debra Cameron, University of Toronto

Debra CAMERON, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto She is education lead for the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation and her research focuses on cognitive intervention approaches, global health and educational scholarship.

Kelly K. O'Brien, University of Toronto

Kelly K. O'BRIEN, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI), and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto in Canada. Kelly holds a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Her area of research is focused on HIV, disability and rehabilitation. Kelly is also a founding member of the Canada-UK-Ireland HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative (CUIHRRC) which is a collaborative of researchers, clinicians and community members interested in HIV and rehabilitation research.

Katherine Robrigado, University of Toronto

Katherine ROBRIGADO, MPH, is a monitoring and evaluation specialist with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment at the Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Her work focuses on the systematic development and implementation of a common monitoring, evaluation, and accountability framework for departmental programs.

Larry Baxter

Larry BAXTER is a person living with HIV whose research interests include HIV and aging; HIV rehabilitation and food security. He is retired from the non-profit sector and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Lynn Cockburn, University of Toronto

Lynn COCKBURN, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto in Canada. Lynn's practice and research addresses professional education, community development and disability inclusive development, and social and occupational justice with a focus on Canada and Cameroon.

Shawna O'Hearn, Dalhousie Unversity

Shawna O'Hearn is the director for Global Health at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on community engagement, health equity and incorporating social accountability principles into education, health and post-secondary institutions.

Brent Oliver, Mount Royal University

Brent OLIVER, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Child Studies and Social Work at Mount Royal University, Canada. Brent's research focuses on HIV, sexual and gender diversity, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Stephanie Nixon, University of Toronto

Stephanie NIXON, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in Canada. She is also the director of the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation. Stephanie's research focuses on HIV, rehabilitation disability and equity.

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