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UNBC anti-Indigenous racism in health care project gets $1 million

The goal of the project is to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism in healthcare systems
Sarah de Leeuw and Margot Greenwood
Dr. Sarah de Leeuw (left) and Dr. Margot Greenwood are involved with the project.

A two-year project based at UNBC to promote cultural safety and recognize Indigenous knowledge and anti-colonial approaches in health services will receive $1 million in funding.

The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) and the Health Arts Research Centre (HARC), both housed at UNBC, are receiving the funds to support health care professionals to address anti-Indigenous racism, practise in anti-oppressive ways, and foster cultural humility.

Indigenous Services Canada has announced it will support the project with a $1-million contribution over two years, starting in 2022.

The project itself is called the Hearts-based Education and Anticolonial Learning (HEAL) health care project and is a joint initiative between the NCCIH and HARC.

“We need to remember that achieving optimal health has always involved both the arts and sciences. We need to remember that transformational change, including much-needed anti-colonial change in health care, requires shifts in both feelings and thoughts,” said Dr. Sarah de Leeuw, who is the director of the HARC and a professor with the Northern Medical Program

“It’s about head and heart work. We’re excited to put arts and humanities to work in the service of cultural humility and anti-oppression.”

The program is anchored in training and education focused on health care students and professionals to create better health outcomes for Indigenous people with the goal of eliminating anti-Indigenous racism in health systems.

“The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health is proud to be partnering in this absolutely critical work with and for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and beyond. The initiative takes a strength-based approach and creates a safe learning environment for all,” said Margo Greenwood, academic leader for NCCIH.

“The goal is to realize transformation and change in the health care system that supports everyone’s optimal health and well-being.”