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HomeNewsde Leeuw, UNBC researchers co-write article on indigenous health challenges

de Leeuw, UNBC researchers co-write article on indigenous health challenges

A pair of UNBC researchers including Dr. Sarah de Leeuw with the Northern Medical Program co-wrote a commentary in a medical journal called the Lancet Series.

The document called “Challenges in health equality for Indigenous peoples in Canada” focuses on some of the complex issues and health inequality facing the demographic.

“Whether or not they’re an outcome of increased rates of intervention into children and families, whether or not they are an outcome of poverty and unemployment those are some of the larger, more complicated and nuanced issues,” says de Leeuw.

“I think we have already started to see some answers in terms of a more sovereign indigenous-run healthcare system through the First Nations Health Authority but some of the really big long-term long-standing issues that probably have to be addressed include cultural safety and training of existing non-indigenous healthcare providers in the north.”

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Making post-secondary opportunities in the medical field more Indigenous friendly could also go a long way in turning the tide on health outcomes for that population.

“Increasing rates of indigenous professionals in communities so training more doctors, training more nurses, physiotherapists, indigenous people practicing indigenous health with indigenous people that directly correlates to better health outcomes.”

As for how the situation can improve for Northern BC’s Indigenous community, de Leeuw says the above-mentioned resolutions could have an immediate impact but some of the more systemic issues will take a bit more time to iron out.

“Making the justice system somehow becoming more equitable for indigenous people, economic systems, access to land and sovereign territory and government those are going to take a really long time but they’re also things that we know will eventually positively impact indigenous peoples health.”

Having the commentary published in a medical journal like The Lancet could prove to be invaluable as it puts many parts of the Canadian medical system into the spotlight for everyone to see.

“Suddenly, aspects of the Canadian Healthcare System are being held up to an international audience and are being evaluated and thought about in relation to larger global issues that also impact indigenous people around the world”

UNBC First Nations Professor Dr. Margo Greenwood and Research Associate Nicole Lindsay also took part in the commentary.

The Lancet is one of the oldest medical journals in the world and is a weekly international publication founded in 1823.

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