Research seminar addresses cultural safety

Panelists to look at perspectives and experiences of cultural safety in the Okanagan Valley.

Gross inequalities in health outcomes for Aboriginal people have dogged mainstream health care systems in Canada, says UBC Okanagan associate professor  Rachelle Hole, who received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to research Cultural Safety and Effecting Organizational Change for Aboriginal Healthcare.

Hole, along with elder advisor Jessie Nyberg from the Stswécemc/Xgat’tem Nation, and master’s student Carmella Alexis, will discuss the findings of their research at a Thursday, Sept. 12, panel discussion about cultural safety in the Okanagan Valley. The discussion takes place at noon in Room 218, Arts Building, 1147 Research Way, at the UBCO campus.

“By taking as our focus  the experiences of health care systems by Aboriginal community members, specifically in critical spaces of hospital care, this research has sought to bring new light on the ways in which our systems shape the treatment of Aboriginal peoples, and not coincidentally, the outcomes of those treatments,” says Hole.

The term cultural safety was first used in New Zealand, says Hole, adding that they have worked with stakeholders to identify when health care practices are experienced as culturally unsafe by Aboriginal people. Enacting new and more culturally safe practices in health care requires cultural sensitivity and cultural competence. Cultural safety begins with the sharing of knowledge of Aboriginal stakeholders, to foster a critical understanding of colonial structures and their impact on Aboriginal people in Canada, says Hole.

This event, sponsored by the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, is free and open to the public. To register, whether to attend in person, via webinar or teleconference, please RSVP at


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