Summer School 2017: Indigenous Health and Transformative Leadership

Facing a Changing World:

Transformative Leadership and Practice


Summer School 2017



The Public Health Association of BC’s 8th annual summer school is only a week away. During the two day course we will show registrants, through four topic areas, how they can operationalize Transformative Leadership into practice and create innovative changes in the field of Public Health and beyond.

Over the next week we will be posting feature blogs of each topic session to give registrants and those who are on the fence an idea of what we will be talking about. We begin today with Indigenous Health and what the team at Vancouver Coastal Health are doing to enact transformative change throughout the province.

Registrations for summer school are open now and seats are limited! Click here to register!


Indigenous Health and Transformative Leadership


Indigenous people throughout BC continue to face barriers, including racial discrimination, when accessing health services in all areas of the system and in both urban and rural settings. As a part of the 2017 Summer School curriculum Leslie Bonshor, of the Tzeachten First Nation, identifies why transformative change is pertinent for improving Indigenous Health and how the conditions for such change are promising in the context of the  Truth & Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Internationally.


Leslie leads the Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Health Team, within the larger VCH system, to support and facilitate system-wide transformative change for the Indigenous Peoples of the Vancouver Coastal Region. Such transformative change is facilitated by a team of Indigenous health leaders who act as agents of change throughout the greater Public Health system. The team provides education and leadership to health professionals in order to reform services to be more culturally sensitive and responsive, and they encourage the development of concrete goals in a movement towards addressing the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action.


Through the view that all health departments and professionals have a role in improving Indigenous health and a responsibility to participate in the reconciliation movement in Canada, the VCH Aboriginal Health Team focuses on empowering non-Indigenous health providers to learn about Indigenous colonial history and move towards offering culturally sensitive care as allies themselves. Having allies throughout the health system helps the spread of social change and thus helps to meet the reconciliation and cultural safety goals established by the health authority.


Indigenous health work is, by definition, transformative. This transformative leadership must have an impact at all levels of a system from the ground up. Until an entire system has reached a common level of understanding on the complexity of determinants that impact Indigenous people’s health and their interaction with health services, we can not make an impact on bridging the health gap for this population or achieve the health reconciliation calls outlined in the TRC.


Join us at the 2017 Summer School so you too can learn your role in transforming Indigenous health.