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This Online Supplement (OS) was inspired by a growing need in health professions education and practice to prepare clinicians for a multitude of social roles within a complex health and social care system.

Traditionally, health professions education has focused on technical and practical knowledge (i.e. biomedical sciences, clinical skills). However, increasing calls to prepare clinicians for social roles like the health advocate, collaborator, and professional, make a strong case for the inclusion of critical knowledge within health professions curricula.

In the table below, Arno Kumagai adapts the work of philosopher Jürgen Habermas to a health professions education context. The table outlines three different types of human interests (goals for education), the types of knowledge needed to support these goals, and how these different goals and forms of knowledge align with the goals of health professions educationKumagai argues that critical knowledge is most relevant to health professions education areas like professionalism, cultural competency, and ethics.


Habermas J. Knowledge and Human Interests. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press; 1971.

Kumagai AK. From competencies to human interests: ways of knowing and understanding in medical educationAcademic Medicine. 2013;89(7):978-983.

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