Initiatives in Indigenous Health

In 2015, the Cumming School of Medicine’s work in Indigenous health was formalized with the launch of its Indigenous Health Dialogue (IHD).

The IHD was established to enhance existing Indigenous health initiatives, create new opportunities for programming, and purposefully respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.

Indigenous Health Dialogue | Health Sciences Centre | G802 | 3330 Hospital Dr NW | Calgary, Alberta | T2N 4N1 General Inquiries

Director, Indigenous Health Dialogue 
Dr. Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe 
(403) 210-9223 
crowshoe@ucalgary.ca

Co-chair, Indigenous Health Dialogue 
Dr. Rita Henderson 
(403) 220-4699 
rihender@ucalgary.ca
 


Working towards health equity for Indigenous people and communities

When it comes to achieving health equity and providing access to quality health care for Indigenous people and their communities, the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) aims to be a leader.

The Indigenous Health Dialogue (IHD) is led by Blackfoot family physician and CSM professor, Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe, and Rita Henderson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. It oversees seven service, research and educational initiatives that will help address some of the most pressing health concerns in Canada.


Indigenous health in medical education

The CSM’s medical education curriculum reinforces the importance of Indigenous health and illustrates the complex social, cultural and bio-medical aspects associated with Indigenous health issues. Based on innovative medical education, students are taught how to develop care approaches that take a patient’s background experiences, impacts of colonization and personal resilience into account.


Indigenous student admissions

The CSM has developed an admissions framework that promotes Indigenous applicant success. While admissions scoring remains the same, Indigenous applicants are assessed according to a peer-referenced standard. This strategy addresses the typical disadvantages faced by Indigenous applicants and provides a more appropriate benchmark.


Innovating Indigenous primary care

In 2016, the CSM’s Department of Family Medicine organized a multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss mobilization of Indigenous primary care while engaging the diversity of cultural, geographic, jurisdictional and Treaty contexts within Alberta. The conversation between government representatives, health care providers and First Nations leaders was guided by respect for Indigenous self-determination, including Indigenous community decisions on the leadership and service providers to act in their interests. A report from that event was released and further activities in this area are anticipated.


Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network

Along with investigators located throughout the province, CSM faculty members Drs. Cheryl Barnabe (MSc'11) and Lindsay Crowshoe lead this provincial network to recruit and support Indigenous trainees pursuing health research.  In April 2017, the AIM-HI network secured $1 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to increase the number of Indigenous scholars in health research, and provide students with enhanced research and mentorship opportunities.


Group for Research with Indigenous Peoples (GRIP)

GRIP is a research network of over 170 health researchers, students, Indigenous community members and organizations, health care providers, and government agencies that are working together to achieve positive changes in Indigenous health status. GRIP promotes research practices that are informed by the determinants of health, and that are grounded in principles of Indigenous health research ethics. GRIP has active working relationships with local, regional, national and international organizations, and hosts a Community Advisory Council, which provides liaisons to the broader community as well as guidance and oversight on research priorities and direction


Aboriginal Health Program

Established in 2008, the Aboriginal Health Program (AHP) addresses the under representation of Indigenous people in the field of medicine. The AHP supports the recruitment of Indigenous learners and provides effective Indigenous health training opportunities for all medical students. As part of the program, the CSM has created an Indigenous Learner Award to acknowledge the contributions of Indigenous students in the medical school.


Pathways to Medicine Scholarship Program

In 2016, the CSM introduced a Pathways to Medicine Scholarship, which is designed for high school students from under-represented populations (e.g. Indigenous, rural or low socio-economic backgrounds) who wish to pursue a career in medicine. The goal of this scholarship is to foster diversity within the medical profession. Every year, up to five students are provided tuition support towards an undergraduate program of their choice, a relocation allowance (if needed), a paid summer research internship, and mentorship opportunities. Once their undergraduate degree is complete, and certain criteria are met, Pathways to Medicine scholars are guaranteed admission into the CSM’s Undergraduate Medical Education program.