Empathy, Dignity & Respect

“It is well documented that many underlying factors negatively affect the health of Aboriginal people in Canada, including poverty and the inter-generational effects of colonization and residential schools. But one barrier to good health lies squarely in the lap of the health care system itself.”

Health Council of Canada

Empathy, Dignity and Respect: Creating cultural safety for Aboriginal people in urban healthThe Health Council of Canada recently published a report, “Empathy, Dignity and Respect: Creating cultural safety for Aboriginal people in urban health”, which highlights some of key the barriers to Aboriginal people seeking health care services within mainstream health care environments. The report is based on a series of seven, regional meetings held across the country with health care providers, many of whom were First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The report demonstrates that there are many Aboriginal people in Canada who, “…do not trust and therefore do not use mainstream health care services because they experience stereotyping and racism, and because the Western approach to health care can feel alienating and intimidating.”

The report findings also define and highlight the roles of cultural competency and cultural safety in reducing health inequities, disparities in the social determinants of health and access to healthcare services for Canada’s Aboriginal populations. The report also describes practices that can contribute to addressing these barriers, including Aboriginal patient navigators and cultural interpreters who provide support to patients and providers.

Read the full report “Empathy, dignity, and respect: Creating cultural safety for Aboriginal people in urban health” and consider sharing this insightful and important publication widely.

Read the Empathy, Dignity and Respect Fact Sheet and learn more about Eight Innovative Practices in Urban Aboriginal Health.

Read the Council’s December 2012 Report Press Release.