In 2005, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada made improving the health of Indigenous peoples in Canada a strategic priority. It mandated the introduction of Indigenous health education into postgraduate curricula, with the goal of improving care and health outcomes. Despite this mandate, voluntary uptake of this curriculum has been limited across postgraduate programs. Since then, the RCPSC has been working on developing a strategic plan to turn these recommendations into action through its Indigenous Health Advisory Committee (IHAC). The IHAC will support the creation of new faculty development approaches, tools, and the enhancement of useful resources. The RCPSC is collaborating with Indigenous and medical education communities to enhance Indigenous health through postgraduate medical education in the near future.
Results of a nationwide survey for residents and program directors of all accredited obstetrics and gynaecology residency programs in Canada demonstrated a significant knowledge deficit among residents in Indigenous women’s health (Jumah, Wilson & Shah, 2013). Similarly, residency program directors were aware that the curriculum in Indigenous women’s health is lacking and agreed that a more standardized curriculum would facilitate provision of education in Indigenous women’s health. A nationwide curriculum initiative could be an effective way to facilitate the provision of education in Indigenous women’s health while decreasing the burden on individual programs. In response to this nationwide survey and the Truth and Reconiciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Actions, a health curriculum website on the social determinants of Indigenous women's reproductive health was created for residents, health care and allied health care practitioners.
The purpose of this study is to assess whether a web-based curriculum can improve resident, health care and allied health care practitioners’ understanding of the social determinants of Indigenous women’s reproductive health. The curriculum was developed by eleven Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, with support from the research team. First Nations, Inuit and Métis women are the foremost experts in terms of providing the social, cultural, and historical context in which the practice of Obstetrics and Gynaecology takes places for Indigenous women in Canada. As such, we have given Indigenous women a means to shape an Indigenous health curriculum in women’s reproductive health.
It is important to note that this web-curriculum should solely be viewed as an introduction to cultural sensitivity and competency. Gaining cultural sensitivity and competency is a life-long process that takes time, reflection and integration. It is important to practice these concepts and skills and be willing to listen, learn, and self-reflect throughout your practice.
The Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health Core Competencies for Postgraduate Medical Education; Winnipeg and Ottawa; 2009:4.
Jumah NA, Wilson D and Shah R. A Canadian survey of postgraduate education in Aboriginal women’s health in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2013;35(7):647–653