Lisa Bortolotti (Philosophy) and Matthew Broome (Institute of Mental Health) at the University of Birmingham are involved in a major six-year project, Epistemic Injustice in Healthcare (EPIC), led by philosopher Havi Carel at the University of Bristol and also featuring as investigators Sheelagh McGuinness (Law, Bristol) and Ian James Kidd (Philosophy, Nottingham).
The project is funded by a £2.6 million Wellcome Trust Discovery Grant .
Patients regularly report that their testimonies and perspectives are ignored, dismissed, or explained away by healthcare professionals. These negative experiences are injustices because they are unfair and harmful, compromising patient contributions to the shared knowledge on which good diagnosis and treatment can be based and undermining trust in healthcare staff and systems.
EPIC aims at remedying epistemic injustices in healthcare, improving the relationship between patients and practitioners. EPIC draws on the work by philosophers and social scientists, healthcare researchers and practitioners, and the testimonies and perspectives of patients and their advocates. The University of Birmingham will lead on three case studies involving mental health: young people with unusual experiences and beliefs, elderly people with dementia, and cancer patients experiencing depression.
The three case studies will be investigated in collaboration with researchers from philosophy, psychology, conversation analysis, psychiatry, and biomedical ethics, and colleagues at Aston University and City University of London in the UK, and the Universities of Bologna and Ferrara in Italy.
EPIC has a website and blog with research updates on epistemic injustice in healthcare and information about vacancies. Kathleen Murphy-Hollies will be the first EPIC research fellow based in Birmingham (September 2023-August 2026), and she will work on the notion of epistemic agency with Lisa Bortolotti.
As part of EPIC, a number of events will be organised in the next six years, including reading groups, academic conferences, summer schools, and outreach events. The project will kick off on 1st September 2023 with a workshop on Silence and Psychopathology organised by Dan Degerman at the University of Bristol.