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Culturally Safe Care

On this page you will find cultural safety resources for health care workers


The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control's main office is located on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations.

We acknowledge the health inequities caused by current and historical colonization of this territory and we humbly work to listen and learn from the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples.

Guiding Frameworks

We are committed to the Government of BC’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), and the recommendations outlined in the Calls for Justice and the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care reports. Our focus, in alignment with PHSA’s Commitment on Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services, is on supporting full access to culturally-appropriate health care services for Indigenous individuals.

Background/Purpose

The goal of this section is to support health care workers’ capacity to provide anti-racist, respectful, culturally-safe care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving a culturally safe care outcome involves the health care worker being able to practice cultural humility and self-reflection and embrace continuous learning.

This type of practice is influenced by the values and culture of the health care environment. We acknowledge the strain the pandemic has placed on our health care setting, and believe an important step to culturally safe care is also a focus on fostering anti-racist, safe, healthy and resilient workplaces.

We encourage you to review the resources below to build your knowledge and skill for providing culturally safe care. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather, it showcases key content to support development of a strong foundation for your cultural competency journey. 

To stay committed to building anti-racist, culturally safe care education this content will be updated as needed. Please contact us at: admininfo@bccdc.ca if you have comments or recommendations for this site.

What is culturally safe care?

PHSA defines culturally safe care as an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe.

Indigenous cultural safety is the process of making spaces, services and organizations safer and more equitable for Indigenous people by considering current and historical colonial impact and seeking to eliminate structural racism and discrimination.

Understanding the ways in which social and cultural determinants of health and power and privilege impact the health of populations and individuals is essential to identifying risk of health inequity and informing strategies to foster culturally safe care.

Resources

Online Courses

What: Social Determinants, Culture and Contact Tracing, Australian National University, hosted by GOARN – only available in English

  • Time commitment: About 45 minutes
  • How can it be used: This module provides a general introduction to the importance of recognizing social determinants and culture in the design and implementation of contact tracing activities. This module aims to build awareness and enable the participant to apply learnings to real-world contexts through working examples from a variety of infectious diseases where contact tracing is a core public health intervention to mitigate transmission. This module is relevant for both novice and experienced contact tracers. To gain access to the module, you must subscribe to GOARN using PHAC as your institution.

What: San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program, Provincial Health Services Authority

  • Time Commitment: The 8-week facilitated course consists of 5 modules and takes about 8 hours (depending on prior knowledge and learning style) to complete.
  • How can it be used: This is a unique, online training program designed to increase knowledge, enhance self-awareness, and strengthen the skills of those who work both directly and indirectly with Indigenous people. The goal is to develop understanding and promote positive partnerships between service providers and Indigenous people.
  • The program is based on the concept of cultural safety: an ongoing process of actively working to make services and systems safer and more equitable for Indigenous people. Topics covered include colonization in Canada; anti-Indigenous racism, stereotyping and discrimination; and social determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health. San’yas participants are guided by skilled facilitators to examine these issues in their own work or practice settings.

What: For the Next Seven Generations – for the Children, Island Health’s Cultural Safety Online Course

  • Time commitment: The course is a 3-4 hour, self-paced, non-facilitated course available on LearningHub.
  • How can it be used: It is intended to improve health outcomes for present and future generations of Aboriginal peoples living on Vancouver Island. The module provides an opportunity for healthcare providers to strengthen their cultural awareness and to enhance their ability to establish culturally safe, respectful engagements and environments.

What: Introduction to Health Equity Online Course, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, NCCDH

  • Time commitment: The course consists of 5 modules and requires at least 2.5 hours. The option to access a PDF version for each module is available as an alternate learning version.
  • How can it be used: The Introduction to Health Equity online course is a collaboration of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) and Public Health Ontario (PHO). The objective of this course is to offer a free, self-directed, and introductory online course to help public health staff, managers, and leaders build the knowledge, skills, and competencies to support action on health equity.

What: Equipping for Equity Modules, Equip Health Care

  • Time commitment: The resource consists of 9 modules, and any of them can be accessed at any time. Each module is designed to take 10 to 30 minutes, with a focus on action-oriented strategies, tools and templates to help integrate health equity into practice.
  • How can it be used: These online modules are presented by EQUIP Health Care — organizational-level intervention studies funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), designed to enhance the capacity of primary health care clinics and emergency departments to provide equity-oriented care, particularly for marginalized populations.

Webinars

What: Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series, Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), PHSA Indigenous Health, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre

  • Time commitment: Webinars are generally 90 minutes.
  • How can it be used: This national webinar series from the Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Learning Series covers issues related to Indigenous cultural safety and anti-racism in health and social services.

What: Cultural Safety & Health Webinars, First Nations Health Authority

  • Time commitment: Webinars are generally 60 minutes.
  • How can it be used: These webinars were held to encourage participation, learning, self-reflection and positive change among B.C.'s health care professionals.
  • The series supports the development of tools and skills for advancing cultural safety and humility and understanding and integrating this work into practice and interaction with First Nations clients.

What: Cultural Safety in the Face of a Pandemic: Historic and Contemporary Realities through a Trauma Informed Lens with Harley Eagle, UBC Learning Circle, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health

  • Time commitment: 90 minutes.
  • How can it be used: In this time of crisis, now is the time to look to cultural safety processes in working with Indigenous people which can then inform how we can better equip medical professionals to cultivate a trauma-informed practice that better supports Indigenous people through medical crises in a culturally safe way. Harley supplies a connection to the colonial history and current realties that may be the root of triggering for Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Reference Guides and Fact Sheets

What: BCCDC COVID-19 Language Guide, Provincial Health Services Authority

  • How can it be used: This guide aims to assist with COVID-19 messaging and content development by using positive, acknowledging, and inclusive, rather than (potentially) stigmatizing language that may provoke fear. Tables are found that offer words, terms or phrases to replace commonly or historically used language as well as the rationale for the suggestions. Key sections include Disease Basics and Racial, Ethnic & Cultural Identities; Pronouns and Gender Inclusive Language; and Health Harming Coping Strategies.

What: Social Determinants, Culture and Contact Tracing - The Quick Reference Guide (QRG), Australian National University, hosted by GOARN – only available in English

  • How can it be used: Located in the last chapter of the online module and attached here as a PDF, this QRG summarizes the key messages provided throughout the Social Determinants, Culture and Contact Tracing module. It lists the key factors to consider when developing approaches to contact tracing, provides examples (or the 'what') of each of the factors and describes how they may be addressed in order to design and implement effective and culturally safe contact tracing activities. It can be downloaded, printed, and kept for easy reference.

What: Let’s Talk Racism and Health Equity, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH)

  • How can it be used: This document is designed to encourage public health to act on racism as a key structural determinant of health inequities. It is part of a collection of resources designed to promote discussion and understanding of how key concepts in health equity apply in public health practice.

What: Aboriginal Racism in Canada Fact Sheets, National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH)

  • How can it be used: This series of fact sheets provides an overview of racism experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. The three documents focus on the historical context of racism towards Canada’s Indigenous peoples, strategies to combat racism and the effect racism has had on both individuals and communities.


Provincial Resources

What: Culturally Connected Website, Provincial Health Services Authority

  • How can it be used: Culturally Connected is an approach that brings together cultural humility and health literacy to help care providers and their clients develop a shared understanding of each other's values, beliefs, needs, and priorities. The resource was developed in collaboration by the Health Literacy team of BC Children’s Hospital and the Population Health Promotion team of BC Women’s Hospital. It includes definitions, case studies, cultural humility & health literacy tools and resources helpful to care providers.

What: Cultural Safety: Respect and Dignity in Relationships Video, Indigenous Health Cultural Safety Initiative, Northern Health Authority

  • How it can be used: This 5-minute animated video introduces cultural safety and related concepts in an easily understandable way. It invites health care providers to participate in making the health system more culturally safe for Indigenous people and families.

What: Aboriginal Cultural Safety Resources, Interior Health Authority

  • How can it be used: This website offers links to podcasts, webinars, a video series and a collaborative learning series on Indigenous cultural safety.

What: Provincial Language Services, Provincial Health Services Authority

  • How can it be used: The Provincial Language Service provides interpreting and translation services to B.C. health authorities and private physician offices. It helps organizations provide services to their linguistically and culturally diverse clients including immigrants, refugees, official minority language speakers and members of the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing community through high-quality interpreting and translation.
  • Services include:

What: Translated and downloadable material to help answer questions about COVID-19, Fraser Health Authority (FHA)

  • How it can be used: The Shareable resources section of the FHA website includes posters and images to share in a variety of languages to help teach clients and communities about the COVID-19 public health safety measures in place in B.C.

SOURCE: Culturally Safe Care ( )
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