From IPAC/AFMC: Dear members of the First Nations Health Managers Advisory,

Health disparities between Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) peoples and the general Canadian population continue to exist. The reasons for the disparities are diverse and include inter-generational impacts from colonization, residential schools, treaties, land claims, ongoing systemic socio-economic disadvantage, and a vast under-representation in the health professions, including medicine. Increasing the size of the Indigenous medical workforce and training all of Canada’s physicians to provide the highest quality care to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples are two key responses to these disparities that are within the medical school’s capacity and social responsibility.The Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) are pleased to announce the release of four key documents to support the implementation of Indigenous health curriculum at all Canadian faculties of medicine, and to increase the number of Indigenous physicians in Canada. These materials are available in English and French on the IPAC and AFMC web sites (;

1. “First Nations, Inuit, Métis Health Core Competencies: A Curriculum Framework for Undergraduate Medical Education” will assist Canada’s 17 faculties of medicine develop locally relevant First Nations, Inuit and Métis health curriculum by providing broad thematic domains around Indigenous health knowledge, skills, and attitudes. We are strongly encouraging the medical faculties to develop relationships with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities they serve to implement the curriculum as the communities are key partners and knowledge holders.

2. “Summary of Admissions and Support Programs for Indigenous Students at Canadian Faculties of Medicine” details the results of a recent survey conducted on the policies, programs and activities in place at each Canadian faculty of medicine to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students into medicine.

3. “Best Practices to Recruit Mature Aboriginal Students to Medicine” highlights recruitment and retention activities that are working in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand undergraduate faculties of medicine, Aboriginal student services and Aboriginal-specific academic programs at Canadian universities.

4. “Pre-Admissions Support Toolkit for First Nations, Inuit, Métis Students into Medicine” provides a guideline of what is needed in the admissions process at all Canadian medical faculties to support Indigenous students’ success in their application to medical school and throughout their medical education.

We believe that these materials, when implemented, have the potential to contribute to improved First Nations, Inuit and Métis health status in the following ways:

o Improving the ability of all physicians in Canada to provide high quality, culturally safe care to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis patients;
o Increasing the cultural safety of the learning environment that the increasing number of Indigenous medical students receive their education in; and,
o Providing a culturally safe learning environment that fosters collaboration between students, faculty members, practitioners, and Indigenous communities.

IPAC and AFMC have co-led the development of these materials and continue to work together to advance our common goals. IPAC’s vision is that of “healthy and vibrant Indigenous nations, communities, families and individuals supported by an abundance of knowledgeable, well educated, well-supported Indigenous physicians working together with others who contribute to this vision with us.” AFMC, under its Social Accountability Initiative, shares the view that medical schools have an obligation to respond to the pressing needs and priorities of the communities that they serve, and certainly the inequitable health status of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people is a pressing need. We are proud to acknowledge the respective and collective strengths and skills of our organizations that contributed to these materials.

We gratefully acknowledge the dedication and leadership of our Curriculum Co-chairs, Dr. Barry Lavallee (University of Manitoba) and Dr. Alan Neville (McMaster University); and our Recruitment and Retention Co-chairs, Dr. Richard MacLachlan (Dalhousie University) and Dr. Stanley Vollant (University of Ottawa). We also thank all of the people and many organizations (listed in the acknowledgements of each document) who contributed to the development of these important resources. We would like to express our gratitude to First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada for their ongoing financial support of this project.

If you have any questions about these materials, please contact us at:

In peace,

Marcia Anderson, MD MPH FRCPC
Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada

With thanks,

Nick Busing, MD CCFP FCFPC
President & CEO
Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

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