Community Classroom

Speaker Addresses Indigenous-specific Racism in the Health-care Sector

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Author: Jenn McGarrigle

An Engaged Citizens Speaker Series event

Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik, Associate Deputy Minister for Indigenous Health with the BC Ministry of Health, presented An Island Response to In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021.


After hearing reports of Indigenous-specific racism in emergency departments in BC, Health Minister Adrian Dix appointed independent investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead an investigation into these allegations, situated and examined within a broader context of Indigenous-specific racism in the provincial health care system. On November 30, 2020, the In Plain Sight report was released. The report found that Indigenous peoples in BC are exposed to widespread racism that often results in negative experiences at the point of care, inequitable medical treatment, physical harm and even death. In her talk, Thomas highlighted some of the 24 recommendations made in the report to address systemic racism in the health-care sector and discussed some interventions and strategies that have been effective in the Island Health region.

The Engaged Citizens Speaker Series launched in Fall 2019 with the goal of encouraging “intellectual, engaging and meaningful dialogue about social challenges, opportunities and the community around us while advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.” This edition is presented as part of VIU’s annual celebration of Global Citizens Week.


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