Concurrent Sessions

B3 Indigenous-Specific Cultural Safety Training Programs: Exploring the Evidence… to Achieve Better Outcomes

Theme 3. Employing and empowering the patient and caregiver perspective

Presentation Details

  • Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2017
  • Concurrent Session B
  • Time: 3:30pm-4:15pm
  • Room:
  • Style: Presentation (information provided to audience, with opportunity for audience to ask question)
  • Focus: Research/Policy (e.g. Presentation of research findings, analysis of policy issues and options)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers

Learning Objectives

  • In this presentation, inter-professional primary care teams (IPCTs) will learn about the evidence-based wise practices for developing and implementing Indigenous-specific cultural safety (ICS) training programs.
  • IPCTs will also learn
    • What is needed to improve the patient-centered care they deliver to Indigenous peoples;
    • What should be expected from ICS training programs;
    • What to be cautious about when striving to deliver and learn more about culturally safe care.


An Evidence Brief was prepared to identify the “wise practices” for developing and implementing Indigenous-specific cultural safety training (ICS) programs in Ontario. We will present the key findings from this Evidence Brief. The Evidence Brief included articles that were identified from a list of resources generated from a scoping review (i.e. n=7 peer-reviewed review papers evaluating the effectiveness of cultural safety training programs) and, to fill critical gaps in the literature, from cross-referencing the resources and consulting with colleagues in Ontario and British Columbia (i.e. several peer-reviewed and grey literature sources that were informed by critical theoretical perspectives, such as critical race theory and decolonizing anti-racist pedagogy). We opted for the term “wise practices” because it has been widely used in Indigenous contexts. We chose “cultural safety” rather than “cultural competency” because the former has a distinct focus on power structures, healthcare providers engaging in critical self-reflection, and being defined by clients/recipients of care. Seven evidence-based wise practices were identified. It is anticipated that these wise practices will help guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of ICS training programs that effectively address the root causes of inequities, reduce the barriers that Indigenous peoples face in accessing high-quality culturally safe care, and contribute to a wider systemic shift towards safer more equitable healthcare and outcomes for Indigenous peoples. Points of caution are also noted. The findings of this Evidence Brief are timely given the recent expansion of ICS training programs that are meant to improve how care is delivered by groups like inter-professional primary care teams.


  • Michèle Parent-Bergeron, RN, PhD, Provincial Practice Lead, Ontario Indigenous Cultural Safety Program, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre
  • Diane Smylie, Director, Ontario Indigenous Cultural Safety Program, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre
  • Mackenzie Churchill, MPH, Research Coordinator, Well Living House, Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital

Authors & Contributors

  • Janet Smylie, MD, MPH, FCFP
  • Michelle Firestone, PhD