Our values

Our values serve as foundational standards that govern our work. They support our larger vision and guide our decision-making processes. They also reflect the ii’ taa’poh’to’p (University of Calgary, Indigenous Strategyfour principles of:

Ways of knowing (teaching, learning and research)

Ways of doing (policies, procedures and practices)

Ways of connecting (relationships, partnerships, connections to the land and place)

Ways of being (identify, inclusivity, leadership and engagement).

 

Community-centred Engagement & Balanced Partnerships

We work to elevate community voice, listening to and learning from community. We co-generate knowledge, programs and solutions with our community-partners, bridging and strengthening community capacities. Our engagement with community reflects deep, long-term commitment, is bi-directional, ethical and equitable. Our activities are informed by community and our solutions/products are community-relevant.

Our definition of community extends beyond more traditional definitions (e.g., groups of people bound by shared identity or geography) to include key stakeholders in our equity efforts (e.g., policy makers, health system administrators, etc.).   

 


Social & Health Equity

Social equity: A commitment to fairness, justice and equality in the formulation of public policy; ensuring all communities are treated fairly and given equal opportunity to participate, with emphasis on ensuring traditionally disadvantaged groups are not being left behind. (adapted from NAPA, 2000)

Health equity: All people (individuals, groups and communities) have a fair chance to reach their full potential and are not disadvantaged by social, economic or environmental conditions. (NCCDH, 2020)

Our focus extends beyond “health equity” to “social equity”, recognizing social determinants as an upstream path to health. This allows us to speak to how structures of society (e.g., political, social, economic, etc.) influence health and to locate structural interventions. Our institutional strategies are conscious of and responsive to social-structural issues related to justice, fairness and distribution of power. 

 

 


Indigenous Decolonization and Reconciliation

Decolonization: A necessarily “unsettling” process that requires a critical social justice approach for dismantling institutional arrangements that perpetuate the legacy of colonization. The “repatriation of Indigenous land and life” is a central tenet of decolonization(Tuck & Yang, 2012), which for institutions requires meaningful inclusion of Indigenous people, perspectives and practices at all levels. A key to decolonization is anti-racism (Crowshoe & Henderson, 2020).

Reconciliation: A process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms. Reconciliation is not possible without the ongoing commitment to acknowledge and amend harms done. (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015)

We recognize the medical school’s significant role in addressing the ongoing social and institutional legacy of colonization within our Canadian context (TRC calls #18-24), and that building an understanding of Indigenous perspectives, worldviews, histories, cultures and belief systems within our school is essential to realizing true reconciliation. We are committed to renewing relationships with Indigenous peoples and to creating inclusive, mindful, and respectful teaching, learning and research. (ii’ taa’poh’to’p)  

 

 


Anti-racism

Anti-racism: The active process of examining and eliminating power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people. Those power imbalances benefit whole groups with unearned privilege, in turn disadvantaging others through acts (overt and invisible) that reproduce oppression through social hierarchies structured on diverse markers of difference (Woollard & Boelen, 2012). In Canada, racism against Indigenous people is a significant driver of negative health outcomes (Allan & Smylie, 2015; Ly & Crowshoe 2015). Further, an antiracist pedagogy “seeks to provide students with the ability to critically reflect on the ways in which oppressive power relations are inscribed in their own lives, as well as the lives of others (Hassouneh, 2006).

We commit to working against individual and systemic racism. We affirm our responsibility to call out injustice and work to dismantle white supremacy, white privilege and settler colonialism in Canada. We work in solidarity with Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) to end racism in medical education, in health care and in our communities. We continue to stand for justice, equity, inclusion and truth and recognize that neutrality is not enough – that it is not enough to “not be racist” but that we must be anti-racist. We advocate for the transformational change needed to fix a system that is broken and recognize that it is not the responsibility of the racialized to fix it. We recognize our unique privilege and responsibility, as educators, as researchers and as health care providers, to listen, learn, take action and repeat

 


Global Citizenship

 

 

Global citizenship: A sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity, emphasizing political, economic, social and cultural interdependency and interconnectedness between the local, the national and the global. (UNESCO, 2014)

We are not just citizens of Alberta or of Canada; we are also citizens of our local and global communities; when we intertwine fates with another, we become a citizen. We adopt an inclusive worldview that accepts the fundamental interconnectedness of all systems, where environmental, political and economic systems render borders increasingly porous, meaning both challenges and solutions require citizen-centred skills and understanding. We seek to develop skills and understanding in multiple domains: sense of belonging, empathy, generosity, humility and respect for difference and diversity (socioemotional domain); curiosity and a sense of understanding citizens’ intertwined fates (cognitive domain); and culminating in responsible local and global action (behavioural domain). (UNESCO, 2014)


Pluralism

Pluralism: Respect for diversity, demonstrated when the daily decisions taken by institutions, civil society and individuals recognize and value human differences. The active process of reconciling difference. (Global Centre for Pluralism, 2020)  Pluralism seeks a constructive response to difference and advances  positive legal, policy and institutional responses to diversity.

We recognize, value and respect differences as presenting an opportunity to learn from one another and enrich our lives and communities with new perspectives and ideas. We encourage a society where every person is free to express their multiple social identities that contribute to their uniqueness and in doing so enrich the intellectual and cultural fabric of our communities. A disposition towards pluralism requires inclusive individuals, institutions and societal systems.

 


Social Accountability

Social accountability: The obligation [of medical schools] to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region, and/or nation they have a mandate to serve. The priority health concerns are to be identified jointly by governments, health care organizations, health professionals and the public. (World Health Organization, 1995)

We are accountable to and work together in collaboration with internal and external communities to achieve health equity. We align our education, research and service priorities with the needs and interests of our communities, particularly those in vulnerable settings.

 

 


Measurement and Evaluation

Drawing on evidence we document approaches, measure outcomes, and translate knowledge. We collaborate with community and a confederation of scholars to co-create meaningful and novel metrics to drive social and health equity change. In doing so, we demonstrate value.