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Residency programs grapple with new Indigenous cultural safety training requirement – CMAJ News

by ahnationtalk on June 6, 2018226 Views

June 6, 2018

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada will soon require all residency programs to provide Indigenous health and cultural safety training. Few programs are prepared or know what that training should include, according to medical educators at the recent Indigenous Health Conference in Toronto.

Indigenous people often face racism and ignorance in health care and medical education. “The health statistics for Indigenous people are horrendous, and it’s the result of discrimination and neglect over hundreds of years of colonization,” said Dr. Anna Banerji, director of global and Indigenous health for continuing professional development at the University of Toronto. “The path to reconciliation will not be an easy one and many non-Indigenous people are afraid of making mistakes. Instead of fearing, let’s embrace it.”

British Columbia has led the way, introducing cultural safety training for health workers to help them better understand Indigenous culture and provide more sensitive care. Other provinces are following suit, but medical education has been slower on the uptake. Most trainees have “zero” awareness of the history and health impacts of colonization, let alone their own harmful biases, said Dr. Jason Pennington, an assistant professor of general surgery at the University of Toronto. As for faculty, “sometimes they’re actually even worse than zero.”

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