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Dr. Marcia Anderson

Dr. Marcia Anderson was among the 15 people who assessed the scientific literature.

Canadian Press: Anti-racism policies in health care should be led by Indigenous staff: report

April 4, 2023 — 

As the Canadian Press reports:

More Indigenous practitioners are needed to address systemic racism, but that can’t happen without a supportive education system that also envisions them in leadership roles, says a report commissioned by Health Canada and touted as the first comprehensive review of the health-care workforce.

The report, released Tuesday by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS), includes an assessment of 5,000 studies done over the last decade on various issues, such as the retention of nurses and doctors and the impact of technology. Some of the research was from countries with similar care models, including Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

It outlines multiple hurdles in health care, including inadequate staffing, burnout, moral distress and dissatisfied patients. It also says the system should prioritize culturally safe workplaces, with a focus on team-based care and gender equity so women, who have been the main caregivers at home as well during the pandemic can stay in leadership roles.

Dr. Marcia Anderson, an internist at Grace Hospital in Winnipeg, was among the 15 people who assessed the scientific literature. She said that as part of Canada’s systemically disadvantaged populations, Indigenous Peoples face “really high levels of racism in the workplace or in the learning environment.”

“In some reports that could be 80 or 90 per cent of people who report experiencing racism,” she said, adding one of the key “pathways” forward is through Indigenous-led development of policies, safe reporting and investigation processes, as well as mandatory education and training for all employees.

Anderson said the gap also compromises care for Indigenous patients, who have endured racism in the health-care system.

She cited the case of 37-year-old Indigenous patient Joyce Echaquan, who died in a Quebec hospital of pulmonary edema in 2020, shortly after filming herself being insulted by hospital staff, as an example of the need for Indigenous Peoples to be part of the health-care workforce and provide leadership in ensuring culturally safe care.

Read the entire Canadian Press article here

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