Co-designing formal health professions curriculum in partnership with students: A scoping review

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There is growing evidence of the value of co-design and partnering with students in the design, development, and delivery of health professions education (HPE). However, the way in which students participate in co-designing HPE remains largely unexplored and there is little guidance on how to embed and strengthen partnerships with students. Using scoping review methodology, we identified and aggregated research reporting studies in which students were active partners in co-designing formal curricula in HPE. After searching five databases and screening 12,656 articles against inclusion criteria, 21 studies were identified. We found that most of the research was based in medical programs (n = 15) across Western contexts. Studies were mostly descriptive case reports (n = 10), with only three studies utilising participatory/action research designs. The co-designed outputs were mostly classroom-based learning on challenging HPE topics, for example, ethics, health inequities, racial and sexual bias, global health, and Indigenous health. Detailed descriptions of student-faculty partnerships and underpinning approaches were lacking overall. To optimise co-design methods, HPE and research require deeper engagement with critical research and pedagogical approaches and more robust evaluations of the processes, outputs and outcomes of co-design. In pedagogical practices, this necessitates challenging institutional structures, teaching and learning cultures and relational elements, such as through creating formal roles and opportunities for students as active co-design partners and fostering more equitable student-faculty positioning in HPE.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Teacher
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Apr 2024


  • Co-design
  • co-production
  • health professions education
  • partnering with students

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