The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health (CEIH) has partnered with UBC Health to bring forth a new interdisciplinary learning experience on Indigenous Cultural Safety. The new course has been modelled to address calls to action 23 and 24 on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. These actions ask to increase the number of Indigenous professionals working in the healthcare field and for medical and nursing schools to require students to take a course pertaining to Indigenous health issues and history.
“The modules themselves are based on the tenets of cultural safety,” said Carrie-Anne Vanderhoop, the project manager. The modules will cover a variety of topics through Indigenous perspectives, such as the origins of cultural safety, social determinants of health and the experience of racism in the healthcare system.
The course features eight hours of online work, and a two-hour in-person cultural humility and allyship workshop. It is uniquely available for all incoming students of medicine and health sciences programs at the university. UBC’s School of Medicine has previously offered the provincial health service authority’s program, San’yas, which is an online Indigenous cultural safety course specifically aimed at healthcare professionals, however the CEIH wanted to create their own curriculum that was targeted at student learning and perspectives.
“I think it’s a different context than when you’re an experienced professional.” said Vanderhoop. “They also wanted to open it up to not just students of medicine and nursing, but to all of the different health sciences disciplines.”
The curriculum has been crafted with the help of many different resources, including the First Nations House of Learning at UBC and the First Nations Health Authority. In order to include Indigenous voices in the course material, Vanderhoop has been interviewing Elders and professionals who will be sharing their knowledge throughout the modules.
“[The course] is supposed to be a positive experience and I think it’s aligning with a growing consciousness and awareness that Indigenous people are facing through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”
Vanderhoop aims to provide each student with a foundational inter-professional learning experience in Indigenous cultural safety that they will reflect and build upon throughout their studies and practice. This is achieved through modules that engage in lots of self-reflective activities.
“What you find with cultural humility is that you need to have lifelong practice of being self-reflective, not only on who you are and your background and what lens you’re bringing when you’re interacting with people in your daily lives, but most importantly, your patients and clients,” said Vanderhoop.
“There’s work that’s going on and people are coming to the table, Indigenous voices are being part of the conversation so I think that there’s a growing amount of education and training that’s happening, which is something that’s hopefully going to make a really big difference.”
This interdisciplinary learning experience will launch through the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health in September 2017.