The Social Accountability of Canadian Medical Schools and Indigenous Health

Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 29, 2017 - The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) and the Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba have an enduring commitment to social accountability and Indigenous health, which has been renewed in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. The AFMC Board had the opportunity this week to hear from leaders and learners in Indigenous health, on how to address and act on the Calls to Action related to health. The discussions have been a formidable reminder of the health care needs of our Indigenous populations.

In the past decade, the AFMC and individual medical schools have made significant progress in the areas of curricula devoted to Indigenous health and training Indigenous physicians. Canada's medical schools have begun their journey towards Reconciliation, with much of this work in partnership with the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. But we can do more. Some schools are further ahead than others and each must share the responsibility for advances in Indigenous health curricula. Education, research and clinical care in Indigenous health priorities such as chronic diseases, mental health, maternal and child health and addictions are needed, as well as targeted admissions policies. Led by the Max Rady College of Medicine, these issues will continue to be important to our Faculties of Medicine as we work collaboratively with Indigenous organizations and communities to seek solutions.

The AFMC and the Max Rady College of Medicine support Indigenous student admissions and Indigenous health curriculum through community engagement. Each Faculty is developing relationships with local Indigenous communities and embrace that consultation and collaboration with indigenous people is a critical aspect of reconciliation.

The AFMC will help to address Indigenous health and social issues, reduce inequities and support a health system that is 'responsive', enhances access and values Cultural Safety. Cultural Safety addresses the power differential between patient and physician; considers the historical, political and social contexts including residential schools and multi-generational trauma; and allows the Indigenous patient to define what a 'safe' experience is for them in the health care system.

The AFMC, the voice of Canada's leadership in medical education are is committed to listening to remote, rural and urban indigenous communities, and to advocating for priority needs in physician supply and accessible, quality care. The Canadian values of equity, safety and social accountability are at the heart of our renewed partnership and collective pledge to make a difference for Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

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