Helen Robinson-Settee, Craig Settee, Malcolm King, Mary Beaucage, Mary Smith, Arlene Desjarlais, Helen Hoi-Lun Chiu, Catherine Turner, Joanne Kappel, Jonathon M. McGavock. Canadian Journal of Public Health. First published May 18, 2021.
In Canada, Indigenous people experience racism across diverse settings, including within the health sector. This has negatively impacted both the quality of care that Indigenous people receive as well as how research related to Indigenous populations is conducted. Therefore, an Indigenous-led council at a kidney research network, in partnership with other key stakeholders, sought to create a learning pathway that aims to distill the racism that Indigenous people face, and build cultural competence, within the health sector.
The learning pathway was designed for researchers, health care providers, patient partners and administrators.
Various components of the pathway are established trainings in healthcare and research settings at provincial and national levels. Provincially, some components are implemented in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
The pathway, called Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj (meaning “White Horse” in Anishinaabemowin), involves six key steps: a culturally tailored blanket exercise that walks participants through the history of local Indigenous Nations/peoples; a more detailed online training program (San’yas); a series of webinars on Indigenous research ethics and protocols; an educational booklet about engaging Knowledge Keepers in research, as well as sharing details about their traditional knowledge and culture; two certification programs about Indigenous ownership of data; and a “book club,” wherein the conversation of racism—and the goal for finding solutions—is continually discussed.
Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj is working to build cultural competence in the Canadian health sector.
This learning pathway has the potential to address racial disparities across the country and improve health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.