Indigenous Cultural Partnership

The Indigenous Cultural Partnership at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women

In partnership with Indigenous-led community organizations, the Royal Alexandra Hospital is honoured to create and implement the Indigenous Cultural Partnership at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women (LHHW).

The Indigenous Cultural Partnership is a five-year pilot program that will advocate for and seek to establish a reconciled model of medicine – that is, equal representation and prioritization of Indigenous health and wellness knowledge systems and practices in sexual and reproductive health alongside the Euro-Canadian approach that is already in place. The Royal Alexandra Hospital would be the first tertiary care hospital in Canada to accelerate systemic changes in sexual and reproductive healthcare for Indigenous women and gender-diverse people.

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The Need:

Indigenous people experience many barriers in accessing healthcare systems due to ongoing trauma and colonial social determinants of health. The recent events surrounding Joyce Echaquan’s death is but one example of this complex social issue.

According to the recently published report In Her Circle (2021) by the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, the foremost barrier for Indigenous women in accessing healthcare is, “racism and discrimination experienced at the hands of healthcare practitioners, from being branded as drug-seeking, resulting in the delay of the release of standard prescriptions, to mislabeling an Indigenous woman as a detox patient in their medical file so that all further care is stigmatized.”

How the program will help:

The Indigenous Cultural Partnership will provide a culturally safe and integrative model of care. The College of Family Physicians of Canada recommends doing this by:

  • Respecting and valuing the patient’s way of knowing and being
  • Viewing the patient as a partner in the healthcare decision-making processes
  • Allowing the patient to determine themselves whether or not the care they received was/is culturally safe

What your support will fund:

In partnership with a number of Treaty 6, Treaty 7, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Settlements, Northwest Territories- and Nunavut-based community/non-profit organizations who specialize in Indigenous people’s experiences, knowledge, wellbeing, and culture, the Indigenous Cultural Partnership at the LHHW will be implemented by:

  1. Hiring dedicated Indigenous staff to allow for culturally appropriate program implementation (one Clinical Advisor in Indigenous Women’s Health and one Indigenous Cultural Helper).
  2. Redesigning dedicated inpatient and public spaces at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women to accommodate Indigenous clients and to make them feel safer and more welcome in the healthcare setting.
  3. Evaluating the program to assess its success by understanding the frequency of use, client satisfaction, and improved clinical health outcomes for Indigenous patients.

The implementation of the Indigenous Cultural Partnership at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women will cost $1.3 Million over five years. The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation seeks community and corporate donor commitment to support this five-year pilot program. Once research and evaluation can demonstrate the success of the Indigenous Cultural Partnership at the Lois Hole Hospital, the expectation is that Alberta Health will provide the budget for the ongoing activities of the program.