HealthcarePapers 17(3) January 2018 : 6-10.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2018.25507

Addressing the Duality of Access to Healthcare for Indigenous Communities: Racism and Geographical Barriers to Safe Care

Carrie Bourassa


Disclaimer: Carrie Bourassa is the lead author of this manuscript. Since this article was published Ms. Bourassa has been accused of fraud, specific to her claim of having Métis, Anishinaabe and Tlingit ancestry. Please reference: CBC article

This commentary examines the inequitable access to healthcare services that Indigenous peoples in Canada face on a daily basis. It considers not only geographical or physical access but also culturally safe access to healthcare. Racism is cited as a major deterrent in not accessing mainstream health services. Three recent studies are cited that reveal that racism, discrimination, stigma, sexism and bias prevent Indigenous peoples from accessing mainstream health services. Cultural safety training is recommended, as well as recruitment and retention of Indigenous health professionals. Several recommendations to address physical and geographical access are also recommended, including self-governance and capacity building; enhanced partnerships and collaboration to address jurisdictional issues, particularly for First Nations communities, and a national strategy for access to healthy and affordable food in northern, remote and rural communities.



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