“Anti-Indigenous racism is a reality in healthcare,” says UNBC researcher
Courtesy University Hospital of Northern BC
Two UNBC researchers are trying to combat racism in the healthcare system.
Dr. Sarah de Leeuw and Dr. Margo Greenwood received $1.3 million to embark on a five year research project focused on enhancing Indigenous health in Northern B.C.
“Anti-Indigenous racism is a reality within the healthcare system, I’m not alone in that belief, and it’s not a particularly radical belief. There’s a lot of literature and a lot of research that shows Indigenous people still experience second-class healthcare” said Leeuw.
“We are not suggesting that we are going to find all the answers in five years, this is a very long process. It’s a change process that might take a generation of healthcare professionals slowly changing attitudes and embracing new ways of knowing and practicing.”
She said there are a lot of reasons healthcare is second-rate, ranging anywhere from cultural cliches to lack of transportation from smaller communities, and they’ll be bringing together a “wide range of researchers and stakeholders” to help develop and put solutions in place.
“We need to have frank, open and heartfelt conversations about this. I believe that all Canadians are invested in wanting a healthcare system that is the best for all the people it serves.”
Keynote partners on the five-year project include numerous Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders across the North, including Northern Health, Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George, the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health and The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.