History of Colonization and Healthcare

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 2
Words: 567
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor

As a healthcare professional, there are a lot of considerations one must take into account. The well-being and safety of patients are a consideration that requires constant attention and focus. Different patient demographics, however, have differing needs, depending on their lived experiences or background. Persons from marginalized groups often require additional background knowledge to properly treat or engage. Due to this fact, a health professional must be familiar with the history of colonization and violence that the indigenous people experienced. The improved understanding becomes an important part of both diagnosis and treatment, as well as the general communication process. The prolonged brutality that indigenous people had to live through at the hands of settlers can instill a generational distrust in authority and the healthcare system in general. Physicians and mental health professionals played their roles in the discrimination of native people in the past, painting the relationship between the two groups as more strained than it could have been. Misdiagnosis and improper treatment practices, as well as a general lack of a voice, have all contributed to substantial dissatisfaction with the healthcare industry. To mend historically damaged relationships, the physicians and healthcare workers of today have to put extra effort into their relationships with marginalized people. A working health professional, in this regard, has to apply their skills and knowledge to understand and overcome the initial reservations their patients might have. An informed and nuanced look at history is a substantial part of this process.

Additionally, one must also consider the silencing aspect of colonization in healthcare in more detail. While the process of exploiting and subjugating a group of people brings direct physical harm, it also has an influence on the outreach and influence the affected group has in the world. Oftentimes, the people that were considered or treated as less important were not offered the same kinds of opportunities and courtesies others were, leading to significant gaps in public knowledge and outcomes. For healthcare, this means that the unique challenges and insights of marginalized communities are often overlooked, seen as unscientific or illegitimate. The structures of power systematically denied certain people access to medical care or the proper procedures to be recognized by the medical community. In modern times, however, the healthcare sphere seeks to remedy this discrepancy and allow more voices to be heard. With the increased recognition of the historic implications of colonization, discrimination of groups or peoples, and the impact social conditions have on health, healthcare providers, now more than ever, can support the population. The introduction of the internet as a valuable resource has also helped immensely, allowing physicians and other workers to learn more about any given topic at a moment’s notice. While the average reliability and quality of data online vary wildly, it can be generally regarded as the quickest and most expansive current source of information about both history and medicine. Regarding the struggles of indigenous people, it should be stated that the impact of colonization has limited their outreach into the global community, and the current medical understanding of the problems that might uniquely affect these groups. For these reasons, it is necessary for a healthcare professional to properly understand and learn the history of colonization. By engaging with the materials of the past, medical workers can pave the way to the future where the majority of society has access to high-quality, reliable, and affordable healthcare services.