Responding to the truth and reconciliation calls to action in healthcare through the arts as a way of knowing, disrupting and healing

The 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for Indigenous knowledge and practices to be included in healthcare. But as can be seen in recent, troubling news stories and reports, Indigenous peoples often face racism and barriers to care. People are becoming interested in using storytelling and the arts to listen to Indigenous peoples’ views so we can change healthcare to better meet their needs and priorities.

The purpose of these studies is to work together with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to create more meaningful paths towards reconciliation and equitable healthcare through the arts. First, I, together with a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners, will look at the research using storytelling in Indigenous health research. Then, I will lead three studies to investigate arts-based strategies to support healthcare students in responding to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report; explore First Nations peoples’ cancer experiences using digital storytelling; and develop arts-based programs to support Indigenous patients facing illness. The findings will help us to include Indigenous perspectives and practices in healthcare to move towards reconciliation and address differences in health.

No one size fits all for measuring what matters: Supporting the use of PRO data in healthcare


  • Richard Sawatzky
    Trinity Western University
  • Jae-Yung Kwon International Society for Quality of Life Research, University of British Columbia


  • Ronak Brahmbhatt
    Trinity Western University

Patient reported outcomes (PROs), which allow patients to report on their physical and mental health and wellbeing, are increasingly used in clinical practice and decision making. However, patients may not be consistent in how they interpret and respond to these questions.

Differences in the meaning of PROs across individuals or over time are known as differential item functioning (DIF) and response shift (RS). Ignoring these differences could lead to erroneous healthcare decisions. Although there are statistical methods to adjust for DIF and RS, these are complex to interpret and apply. To address this, our team is developing resources on DIF and RS (introductory video, webinar, and analysis software code).

Building on this prior work, we now propose to facilitate wider uptake of knowledge for interpreting and analyzing PROs by developing a webinar that includes case studies and an online interactive learning module specifically for clinically-oriented audiences (clinicians and decision support analysts).

Expected outcomes include:

  1. Increased awareness of DIF and RS and their implications for clinical practice and decision making, and
  2. increased ability to analyze and interpret PROs data while accounting for DIF and RS.