Resource spotlight: Indigenous History Month

June 6, 2022


Written by Jessica Sheard

This article was written and researched by a CSHP student member for Interactions, our biweekly newsletter. Crafting these pieces not only helps students gain in-depth knowledge of specific conditions, treatments, and resources, it also helps them hone their skills in research, critical appraisal, evaluation, synthesis, and writing – all of which will serve them well in clinical practice. The Professional Practice Team works with the student to select topics that are of interest and utility to both the student and to you, the reader. We hope you enjoy this piece by one of our future colleagues! Let us know what you think: If you would like to provide any comments or constructive feedback for our students, please email us at


The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples that live in Canada face disproportionate health disparities, unique health needs, and barriers and gaps to care due to racism, discrimination, and the long-lasting effects of colonization. In terms of health status, 44% of First Nations people living on reserve reported their health as being very good or excellent when compared to 60% of non-Indigenous people1.  The effects of residential schools on survivors and their families are still reflected in Indigenous Peoples’ physical health, namely chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and arthritis1,2. The presence of at least one of these chronic health conditions are reported in 60% of Indigenous adults1. Survivors and their families also carry a higher risk of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and Hepatitis C2. These health inequities stem from the foundation of colonialism in Canada1. It is important for pharmacists to be aware of the health needs and health disparities of Indigenous patients and to provide culturally competent care. This “Resource Spotlight” provides resources to help pharmacists improve their cultural competency and clinical knowledge on specific health needs as they relate to Indigenous patients.

Cultural Competency

Aboriginal Relationship and Cultural Competency Courses – Cancer Care Ontario
Cancer Care Ontario has developed a series of free courses to improve cultural awareness and Indigenous relationships for healthcare providers. The series includes 13 self-paced courses that are in support of the call to action made by the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report. In the course series, healthcare professionals can learn about the history and culture of Indigenous people and communities and how it relates to their health and providing care. A video by Cancer Care Ontario on the importance of why cultural awareness is important in healthcare can be viewed here: CCO Importance of Indigenous Cultural Awareness - YouTube

Webinars — National Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series (
The National Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series is a series of webinars focused on providing education for anyone who is interested in increasing their understanding of cultural safety. Broad participation across disciplines and sectors, including healthcare, is encouraged, especially for those working closely with Indigenous people, families, or communities. The webinars in the series cover topics including racism and discrimination faced by Indigenous people, how the experiences of Indigenous people intersect with systems, such as the healthcare system, and how anti-Indigenous racism affects health. 

Cultural Safety and Humility (
The First Nations Health Authority has a number of resources for healthcare providers to learn about cultural safety and humility. Included on the site is a framework for cultural safety and humility and a 11-part webinar series, available for free. The “It Starts with Me” campaign can be found on this site as well. This campaign was introduced in 2016 to support healthcare staff reach the goal of achieving culturally safe healthcare services, including a declaration of commitment, staff pledge card, and social media content. Lastly, this website includes a report and recommendations on providing trauma-informed and culturally safe emergency care, titled “Paddling Together: Trauma-Informed and Culturally Safe Care”. 

Clinical Guidelines

Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy – Jaris Swidrovich – Discharge Medication Reconciliation for Patients Being Discharged to a First Nations Reserve: Vol 72. No. 5 (
This publication from the Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacists includes a modified discharge medication reconciliation checklist for pharmacists as they prepare to discharge patients to First Nations reserves. The article includes important practice considerations pertinent to the discharge process for Fist Nations patients, such as lack of previous complete medication assessment opportunities, community pharmacy services or physician services, and issues surrounding insurance coverage. 

Diabetes Canada | Clinical Practice Guidelines - Chapter 38: Type 2 Diabetes and Indigenous Peoples
Diabetes Canada includes a chapter in their Clinical Practice Guidelines regarding type 2 diabetes in Indigenous patients. This chapter includes important practical tips for healthcare providers caring for Indigenous patients with diabetes, background material on the effects of colonialism on Indigenous health and how it relates to diabetes, management including a cultural approach, and an Educating for Equity (E4E) framework. The Educating for Equity framework provides clinical strategies for healthcare providers as they care for and educate Indigenous patients with diabetes and includes important clinical considerations surrounding socioeconomic disparities, adverse life experiences, effects of colonization and inequity in healthcare, as well as involving culture in diabetes management. 

Canadian Journal of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine: Vol. 6, No. 1 (Current issue) (
The Canadian Journal of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine has published an updated Canadian Tuberculosis Standards in March of 2022. The update contains a new featured chapter on TB care and cultural competence for healthcare workers serving Indigenous Peoples in Canada, which can be found in Chapter 15. Another notable chapter contains information and guidelines on prevention and control of TB in healthcare settings, including hospitals. This chapter can be beneficial for pharmacists who are caring for patients with TB in the hospital setting. This information can be found in Chapter 14. Important guidelines regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of TB can also be found in the standards.

Vaccines and Vaccine Hesitancy

NCCIH - National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health > Home > NCCIH PUBLICATIONS
The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health has a broad library of resources surrounding Indigenous health. This webinar specifically addresses vaccine hesitancy and specific challenges faced by Indigenous patients regarding vaccine uptake, including negative experiences with the healthcare system, healthcare providers, and vaccines.

Gashkiwindoon Toolkit (
Indigenous Primary Health Care Council is an Indigenous-governed and informed organization. Reports on Indigenous healthcare and toolkits and training for healthcare providers can be found on their website. This toolkit specifically addresses COVID-10 vaccine implementation. Chapters in this toolkit provide a framework for vaccine implementation, including a specific section on collaboration in the hospital setting. 

Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Resources

NIHB is a federal pharmacy coverage program available to First Nations and Inuit people living in Canada who have a Status Card. This program provides coverage for prescription and over-the-counter medications, dental and vision care, medical supplies and equipment, mental health counselling, and transportation to medically required health services. A guide on NIHB can be found here: Guide for pharmacy benefits: Non-Insured Health Benefits ( NIHB also provides a drug benefit list that can be accessed here: Non-Insured Health Benefits: Drug benefit list (

QID - Community Page 

The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists has an Indigenous Health Pharmacists Specialty Network (PSN) that can be found in QID. This community can be used by pharmacists to share Indigenous health content and ask questions about caring for Indigenous patients.
  1. Nguyen NH, Subhan FB, Williams K, Chan CB. Barriers and Mitigating Strategies to Healthcare Access in Indigenous Communities of Canada: A Narrative Review. Healthcare. 2020; 8(2):112. 
  2. Wilk P, Maltby A, Cooke M. Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada-a scoping review. Public Health Rev. 2017;38. doi: