Lecturee becomes the Lecturer

Today was our last day at the BCU campus. We ended our time at BCU with our group presentations that we had been preparing for since before we left. This was our way to summarize everything that we had learned and apply it to Healthcare and Education.

My group, which was just the two of us boys on the trip, had changed focus from looking at inequality in wealth and income to looking at sexism within education and healthcare. As the only two males in the group, we felt that we had a different perspective on this issue that we could come from for our presentation. Our presentation looked at many ways that men and women are victims of sexism within those systems we looked at.

The first group that presented looked at Mental Health Services within the UK and the US. They noted that they took some inspiration from mental health murals that were located around Birmingham. Some of their first information regarded the National Health Service (NHS) and how mental health was organized within it. It is always interesting to discuss the fact that many NHS services, mental health not discluded, require a referral from your general practitioner, and wait times can become incredibly long. This can create issues where the general practitioner prescribes something for the meantime without considering side effects. The benefit of the NHS is that mental health services are free to the public and private options do exist for those willing to pay. By comparison, the United States lacks a lot of mental health services, but COVID has put a lot of emphasis on the importance of those services in both nations.

The next group that presented focused on public health and education through a diverse lens via migrants. One of the key statistics they shared is the fact that black women in the United States and the United Kingdom suffer from increased maternity-related deaths. An aspect that they focused on was the lack of language support that exists within health and education and some of the cultural barriers that can stem from those issues. Systems in the United States and the United Kingdom also suffer from limited accessible options for migrants and immigrants. This presentation argued that language should prove to be an asset rather than something that is holding back someone from service.

The group before last looked at racial disparities rooted in distrust within healthcare and education. They found there was a lot of historical context behind the distrust that minority groups have for these systems. Experiments run by the government of the United States on minority groups throughout the 20th century have been a major aspect of this. Even in the United Kingdom, many minority groups show distrust for the NHS as a service provider and feel it cares for them less. Areas of distrust in education come from the school-to-prison pipeline in the United States which is affecting minority groups at a much higher rate than their white peers. Both the UK and US education systems suffer from a lack of minority educators within schools as well.

As our time at BCU is coming to a close, I can reflect quite positively on all the lectures we’ve had and the wealth of information the lecturers have been able to impart to us in just over a week. Birmingham has been a wonderful city to experience from an academic and tourist perspective. I was also privileged enough to meet up with a friend I’ve mine from Birmingham the other day as well, which was quite fun.

Friends from across the Pond

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