Oct. 12, 2021

Med school commits to further advance reconciliation and healing with Indigenous Peoples

New initiative includes funding to support a path forward; information session Oct. 15
Sunset sky, single tree and three teepees
Artist: Kevin Pee-ace

Driven by a commitment to create change, the Cumming School of Medicine’s Indigenous, Local and Global Health (ILGH) Office is seeking to provide funding, resource and infrastructure support for projects that further reconciliation and healing with Indigenous Peoples.

A virtual information session aiming to catalyze interest in the reconciliation and healing initiative, known as Indigenous Health Education Pathways to Healing, is scheduled for Oct. 15 from 12 to 1 p.m. Details and registration.

The session will provide an overview of Pathways to Healing (who can apply, funding opportunities and types of projects which qualify) and an opportunity for questions from attendees. Dr. Gabriele Lindstrom, PhD, educational development consultant (Indigenous Ways of Knowing), Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, will also speak to the connection between education and health from an Indigenous perspective.  

“For community healing to happen we must be aware of and address the impacts from multigenerational adverse life experiences caused by colonialism; we must rectify ongoing social resource inequities and we must reconnect with Indigenous culture and healing practices,” says Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe, assistant dean, Indigenous, ILGH. 

Pathways to Healing is unique in that it is approaching the funding application process with an open mind and incorporating Indigenous ways of doing and sharing knowledge. Sharing circles, an integral part of oral tradition in Indigenous communities, will provide a safe space for discussion of ideas, building relationships, engaging in peer-based learning and seeking guidance on the application process. 

Applicants will share their ideas for educational and health innovations, experiences and lessons learned to improve Indigenous health outcomes, advance reconciliation in the medical community and education, and build Indigenous health teaching and learning capacity. It is hoped this will inspire others to commit to action and be the first of many similar initiatives across Calgary.

To date, Pathways to Healing is supported by the Cumming School of Medicine, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, and the Office of Indigenous Engagement. 

The foundation: Indigenous Health Dialogue

Through a deep process of engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation’s health legacy calls to action, the Indigenous Health Dialogue (IHD), released by ILGH last year, identified five directions that outline a path forward in Truth and Reconciliation. Pathways to Healing incorporates the five directions which centre around inclusion of Indigenous people and knowledge, advocacy of Indigenous health and education, ethical research to determine community-identified priorities, and collaboration in innovation. 

“It’s important to engage community throughout this process. We must arrive at a place of understanding with Elders and community leaders to identify priorities and content to teach and learn from, to increase understanding throughout the medical education system,” says Dr. Pamela Roach, PhD, director, Indigenous health education, ILGH.   

Ongoing support

On the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the University of Calgary reaffirmed its commitment toward reconciliation and healing. Pathways to Healing is part of that commitment. With each event that is hosted, every project that is started, every discussion that is catalyzed, the medical education community is one step closer to change. 

Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe, assistant dean, Indigenous, co-chair of the Indigenous Health Dialogue, and Indigenous health program director, is a member of the Piikani Nation, Treaty 7 Region of Alberta. He is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine, and member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM).

Pamela Roach, director, Indigenous health education, is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and originally from the historic Métis community of St. Laurent, Man. She is an assistant professor in the departments of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences and member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at Cumming School of Medicine.  

ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting, and being. Walking parallel paths together, ‘in a good way,’ UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.