Cultural Safety for Indigenous Peoples: A Determinant of Health

March 27, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET


Offered by the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCHEH)

This webinar was available in English only.


Racism and prejudice towards Indigenous peoples is a determinant of Indigenous peoples’ health and well-being (or lack thereof). While cultural competencies and cultural safety courses are taking hold as ‘best practices’ across many jurisdictions, this seminar lecture presents more overtly the idea that racism remains a significant barrier to optimal health care relationship, and thus optimal health, still faced by Indigenous peoples. Specifically, the lecture will link strategies for health practice improvements to calls by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) about building meaningful relationships and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The presentation will explore topics ranging from the fact that many Indigenous geographies are outcomes of racilized construcations about Indigenous peoples, that now form physcial barriers to accessing health, through to ideas that imbedded stereotypes about Indigenous people continue to ‘colour’ ways health care professionals interact with Indigenous peoples, as patients, community members, or families and advocates.

The presentation will draw on multi-media ways that Indigenous people have expressed their realities of experiencing racism as a determinant of health and will also dicuss ways that healthcare professionals might engage with the arts and humanities in order to delve more deeply and reflexively into personal orientations to Indigenous peoples and communities. The presentation will also explore some innovative and humanities-informed research and educational projects focused on building relationships between First Nations communities and non-Indigenous undergraduate medical students, residents, and health care professionals.

 At the end of this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand historic and contemporary ways that Indigenous peoples are constructed as ‘othered’ subjects
  • Have new lenses through which to understand health-based interactions with Indigenous peoples
  • Understand means of undertaking self-refelction to further and deepen personal thoughts about racism and Indingeous peoples
  • Have stregthened CanMEDS competencies in the areas of professionalism and advocacy
  • Be able to envision some tangible projects they might enact within medical and health care education environments.




Allan, B and J. Smylie.(2015). First Peoples, Second Class Treatment: The Role of Racism in the Health and Well-being of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Toronto, ON: the Wellesley Institute

Elliot, C. and S. de Leeuw. (April 2009). Our Aboriginal Relations: When Family Doctors and Aboriginal Patients Meet. The Canadian Family Physician. Vol. 55. 443-444.

 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Honoring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.


This event is approved for up to 6.5 credits by the Office for Continuing Professional Development. The Office for CPD, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Education (CACME). This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Medical Association, physicians may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at Each physician should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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