After George Floyd was killed by an American police officer, many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world took to the streets to protest against racism. These protests also prompt self-reflection at UM: what is the current situation in terms of the use of race and racism in Dutch health care and health research? We asked Alana Helberg-Proctor, assistant professor in the Department of Health, Ethics and Society of Maastricht University. She is an expert on the use of ethnicity in Dutch health research.
“Based on my research I wouldn’t say racism is a widespread problem in Dutch health research. With regard to health care, there are care providers who report witnessing racism in healthcare, however unfortunately there is very little research on this in the Netherlands. Pertaining to research, mostly health researchers working on this topic are interested in reducing health inequalities. Nevertheless, researchers and health care providers often have common-sense assumptions about differences and similarities between groups that are too simplistic and societally determined. As a consequence these assumptions can affect science and health care practice”.