The EPIC Project

History, rationale & partnerships

The EPIC project was born out of the need for SLT/A practices to be re-imagined given the service delivery issues being faced, particularly in South Africa. A paper published by Pillay and Kathard (2018) has described the EPIC project in great detail making use of the collaboration between the University of Cape Town and University of KwaZulu Natal.

It was noted that power structures, rooted in colonialism were introduced and used to displace various populations (e.g. from Asia, Africa and America). The result was that a cultural borderland was created in which native communities were politically, economically and socially marginalised (Grosfoguel, 2011). Cultural borderlands can be described as a form of cultural cartography where borderland assumptions are underpinned by race, gender, language, ethnicity, gender and/or sexual orientation. Colonial history has influenced epistemologies of science, more specifically which are privileged and the nature of clinical reality. As such, colonial North has negatively influenced global health inequalities (Gone, 2007).

Many of the global South SLT/A professions serve unequal and inequitable populations -using knowledge and practices that originate in colonial North populations such as one-on-one sessions. The EPIC project is used as an example through which service delivery affected by inequality and inadequate SLT/As for those with communication and swallowing disabilities is questioned. In doing so, EPIC foregrounds population-based health care by expanding on the current, dominant, personal-based rehabilitation framework.  Therefore, EPIC allows SLT/As to rethink and transform clinical practices using this framework with underserved populations in mind (although not only these populations).