Understanding Racialised Discrimination in Health Care through Shared Knowledge Production

Primary Investigator: Sarah Hamed, DDS, MSc

Project description: The experience and expectation of racism has an independent negative effect on health outcomes and is associated with refraining from seeking medical care. Unconscious discrimination in health care can lead to unequal access to quality health care. Despite evidence of the experience of discrimination by health care professionals and users, and of inequalities in health outcome for people of migrant background in Sweden, there is very little discussion of discrimination focusing on racism in Swedish healthcare. The lack of official data around racialised categories and the emphasis on integration renders discrimination invisible, while very few cases of racism are reported via the official complaints system. Given the occluded and sensitive nature of racism for both professionals and patients, planned and widespread consultation, to include all stakeholders in the provision and uptake of healthcare together with inductive qualitative analysis are needed.

This dissertation aims therefore to conceptualise discrimination and understand how lived experiences are interpreted and connected with making meaning. This will be done through inductive qualitative exploration and interrogation of a range of stake-holders’ perceptions of discrimination in Swedish healthcare. Interviews with health care users, health care providers as well as other relevant stakeholders involved in the health care system will be conducted. Critical analysis of educational curricula in training programs for health professionals as well as the complaint system, with respect to racism and other forms of discrimination, will also be conducted.

Through the method of consultation and joint knowledge production, the project will contribute to supporting changed processes in health care provision in regards to both individual and institutional racism and other forms of discrimination.

Advisor: Prof. Hannah Bradby & Prof. Sandra Torres


Bradby, Hannah, Thapar-Björkert, Suruchi, Hamed, Sarah & Ahlberg, Beth Maina, "Undoing the unspeakable: researching racism in Swedish healthcare using a participatory process to build dialogue"Health Research Policy and Systemsvolume 17, 43, 2019.

Ahlberg, Beth Maina, Hamed, Sarah, Thapar-Björkert, Suruchi  & Bradby, Hannah, "Invisibility of Racism in the Global Neoliberal Era: Implications for Researching Racism in Healthcare"Frontiers in Sociology, 2019.