Indigenous peoples experience disproportionately poor health and social inequities as the direct result of Canada’s colonial history, including the Indian Act and Residential Schools. Indigenous people face discrimination in accessing health services and are often underrepresented in health research.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action demonstrate the need for system-wide transformation for creating Indigenous cultural safety within health systems. Call to Action 23 calls on all levels of government to improve cultural competency of healthcare professionals. Culturally safe care requires providers to understand how power dynamics created by colonization persistently affect Indigenous people’s health. The regional Aboriginal Health Program at Vancouver Coastal Health is leading innovative activities that use Indigenous methodologies to facilitate system-wide culture change, including cultural safety training at a large acute care facility, embedding Elders and Knowledge Keepers in care systems, and providing cultural practice guidelines to front-line staff.
A Two-Eyed Seeing research team will be formed to integrate Western and Indigenous perspectives on health research. The team will engage with Indigenous communities in three focus group sessions in fall 2018. Feedback will be provided on: respectfully conducting health research with/for Indigenous people; ways research can genuinely serve — not tokenize — communities participating in studies; and the health and wellness themes of highest priority to communities. Focus groups will be held with: (1) Indigenous women attending the Necamat Aboriginal Women’s Village of Wellness held in October in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside; (2) Musqueam First Nation; and (3) Vancouver General Hospital Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group.
A knowledge translation team — consisting of (at least) one community representative, one knowledge user with knowledge translation expertise, and trainees — will synthesize community feedback to inform the development of content for Research Day and to produce a final report for knowledge dissemination.
The Research Day will be hosted by Vancouver Community health services at Vancouver Coastal Health in spring of 2019 to expand awareness of Indigenous perspectives on health and research among Vancouver Community staff. The morning will include a traditional opening by an Elder, a community panel discussion to explore themes of the focus group sessions, and a keynote presentation. Respected Indigenous leaders and researchers will speak and moderate discussions. In the afternoon, 25 registered Vancouver Community health researchers will attend a workshop on cultural safety and Indigenous research methods.