PhD Opportunity: Exploring interventions to tackle service provider discrimination against Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Communities

27 November 2018
Northumbria University Newcastle

A PhD opportunity is available at  exploring interventions to tackle service provider discrimination against Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Communities. 

Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities experience among the poorest health outcomes in society. Numerous structural barriers underpin these health inequalities, including significant difficulties in accessing health services, accommodation, education and employment.

Recent work points to the persistence of racism and discrimination in preventing service access. Cultural awareness training, delivered in conjunction with community members, is commonly used in an effort to counter discrimination and aid communication. However, the effectiveness of this strategy remains uncertain, and concerns have been raised that this may essentialise and reinforce the difference of community members, thereby perpetuating stereotypes and relegating service provision to the realm of ‘specialist’ providers .

As such, there is an urgent requirement for interventions (which move beyond considerations of cultural competence alone) to address service provider prejudice and reduce the discrimination experienced by Roma, Gypsies and Travellers. This includes encouraging practitioners to consider their unconscious biases, and to question the power relations associated with their position. 

Drawing on existing theoretical and empirical work undertaken in the department, this PhD will explore how models of service provider education can best be developed and implemented, in order to reduce discrimination and increase service access for Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Communities. Using a collective case study design, encompassing the perspectives of professionals and community members, it aims to collate learning from existing equality and diversity training initiatives. In doing so, it intends to foster the cross-fertilisation of successful practice across different disciplines. 

The project builds directly on the supervisors’ doctoral research and a broader strand of work around marginalised groups (including NIHR funded research), aligning with the MDRT theme on vulnerable populations and social justice. It will feed into a burgeoning international partnership with colleagues in the Czech Republic, presenting opportunities for cross-cultural learning. The studentship will be advertised through a Roma research network, Fuse, and the supervisor’s research and practice contacts. 

To find out more and how to apply click here