Drawing on socio-political theories of education, my research program aims to elaborate on governmentality effects: the ways in which dominant discourses impact professional identity negotiations, particularly the articulation and application of expertise. Entry points for this work are discourses, such as collaboration, humanism, integration, caring and globalization. These pervasive discourses, and the associated activities, identities, tools and cultural symbols they make possible, manifest formally and informally and influence the value systems that academic health care providers, learners and patients bring to their interactions. I study the material effects of discourse as a particular dimension of the hidden curriculum with the potential to support or hinder educational delivery and learning. I am also interested in ways in which organizations and educational programs may inadvertently create the conditions for knowledge stratification. This line of inquiry contributes to a nuanced understanding of how social, cultural and organizational practices influence educational mandates.