Today, the BCCFP joins people across Canada in commemorating the second annual National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
It is a day for us to commemorate the history and ongoing trauma caused by Canada’s Residential School system and to honour those who were lost and all those who continue to grieve.
It is also a time for us to reflect on the systemic racism and discrimination that persists in our health care system, and to consider what role family physicians can play in transforming health services to ensure they are culturally safe and equitable for First Nations and Indigenous people in BC.
As a first point of contact to the health care system, family physicians have the potential to make a significant impact in how Indigenous people experience health care.
As a signatory of the BC First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility, we are committed to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in healthcare. Doing so requires a resetting of the relationship between First Nations people and the health care system.
Our goal is to provide our members with the education and support they need to play an active role in reshaping the system.
As part of this work, we have developed a number of resources and initiatives aimed at embedding cultural safety and humility in the practice of family medicine, including offering a cultural safety and humility web series for members. We have also launched a Cultural Safety and Humility Grants Program aimed at supporting family physicians to continue or initiate new culturally safe practices.
Though there is still much work to be done to ensure equitable health care, we have been inspired by member engagement in these cultural safety initiatives so far.
“As a first point of contact to the health care system, family physicians have the potential to make a significant impact in how Indigenous people experience health care,” says Dr. Rebekah Eatmon, BCCFP’s Indigenous Physician Lead.
“A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have responded to our initiatives with curiosity, humility and a desire to learn and do more to ensure culturally safe care.”
For additional resources to support learning and reflection on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, please the Cultural Safety section of our website.