Queen's Family Medicine to Introduce Cultural Safety Training into Curriculum
Guest blog by Dr. Hugh Langley, Assistant Professor in the Queen's Department of Oncology and Primary Care and Aboriginal Lead, Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario
First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) peoples bear a disproportionately high cancer burden and face a number of health disparities, barriers and gaps to health services. One barrier FNIM people face is fear and at times mistrust of the health care system that can lead to lower use of cancer prevention and screening services. Also, when symptoms arise, many may delay seeking help or completing treatments.
However, when FNIM people experience culturally safe health care they are more likely to access care earlier, feel more at ease and empowered throughout the process of receiving care; share details about their health concerns and care preferences, return for follow up visits and follow treatment plans recommended by health care providers. In short, cultural safety is a critical component for improving patient experiences/outcomes.
One of the most impactful ways that FNIM people can feel culturally safe is through their interactions with health care providers. Recognizing this, Cancer Care Ontario has developed online Aboriginal Relationship and Cultural Competency (ARCC) courses, which help healthcare professionals to learn about FNIM peoples and how to provide care in a culturally safe manner.
The Queen’s Family Medicine Residency Program will be implementing the ARCC courses as part of their mandatory curriculum for residents. Dr. Eva Purkey is the Director of Global Health and Health Equity and states: “These courses and other activities will allow our residents learn how they can provide a positive and culturally safe environment for their Indigenous patients and families”.
I encourage all programs and institutions that have a responsibility on training and teaching the health care professionals of tomorrow to also incorporate these courses into their curriculum. The courses are interactive and address a key recommendation from the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, to provide skills-based training in cultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Currently, the ARCC courses have over 10,000 course enrollments and a course completion rate of 81 per cent. The courses are free of charge and can be taken at anytime, anywhere by anyone. We are thrilled to be able to acknowledge and thank Queen’s Family Medicine for this landmark move in helping to build an inclusive health care system and look forward to seeing the participation and interest in building culturally safe spaces spread across Canada.
To take the ARCC courses, please visit https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/resources-first-nations-inuit-metis/first-nations-inuit-metis-courses
For more information on how your faculty or institution can begin this work, please contact our Aboriginal Navigator at Dionne.Nolan@kingstonhsc.ca