How one B.C. nursing leader hopes to address anti-Indigenous bias in ‘intrinsically racist’ system – CBC

Sep 29, 2023

Nursing college registrar Cynthia Johansen says she is ‘asking people to change their hearts and minds’

In Cynthia Johansen’s mind, reconciliation begins with the painful realization that she’s spent most of her life ignorant of the full history of Canada and the true impact of more than 150 years of oppressive anti-Indigenous policies.

“Holy God, I’ve missed like 90 per cent of the core information and learning of what it means to live here, and I’d better figure that out,” she explained. “Reconciliation for me is about bridging that gap, and what role I can play as an individual Canadian to fix it.”

As registrar for the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), which sets the standards and expectations for more than 67,000 health professionals, Johansen has the power to play a much larger role than most Canadians.

“It’s so clear the harms that have been created by a [health-care] system that is intrinsically racist, and individuals acting within that system are driven to act in that way because of the fact that the system around them supports that behaviour,” she said.

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