On July 8, 2022, the Wije’winen Well being Centre opened its doorways to the city Indigenous neighborhood in Halifax, offering future alternatives for medical learners excited by Indigenous well being.
An initiative of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, the brand new well being centre will boast a full-time educational doctor place, turning into the primary of its type in Nova Scotia to host learners formally. Medical college students and residents might be supplied a complete expertise in Indigenous well being — one thing that has not beforehand existed within the central zone.
Serving sufferers who haven’t had choices for self-directed care previously, the centre will function an area for city Indigenous peoples to hunt culturally secure major care. At a time when there are acute physician shortages, the centre’s opening couldn’t be extra well timed.
Dr. Brent Younger is an Anishinaabe household physician, the tutorial director of Indigenous well being in Dalhousie’s School of Medication, and the medical lead at Wije’winen Well being Centre. Dr. Younger explains that trauma-informed care is one technique for offering a culturally secure atmosphere for Indigenous peoples.
Dr. Brent Younger speaks with affected person Charlotte Bernard
Dr. Younger expects that one of many takeaways for college students would be the recognition that Indigenous folks have a protracted historical past and prevalence of trauma, and that trauma informs and shapes how they work together with the well being care system. He hopes college students hold that on the forefront when interacting with their sufferers and offering care.
When requested what the curriculum will entail, Dr. Younger says that they’re simply starting to flesh it out. “It is extremely early days, there are just a few drafts that we’re engaged on. I envision a curriculum that gives a baseline background of information earlier than learners enter the clinic to make sure the protection of each the learners and the sufferers.”
The clinic will supply learners structured, formal, Indigenous-focused instructing. “After we discuss social determinants of well being, we frequently converse to housing, employment, entry to schooling and entry to revenue,” says Dr. Younger. “We all know that these issues are influenced or formed by racism and colonialism. It requires a shift in how we take into consideration and conceptualize the social determinants of well being and offering that context to college students coming by the clinic.”
Cultural security is an end result determined by the affected person. It’s a fluid idea altering from individual to individual and over time. Dr. Younger due to this fact expects future learners to have a extra reflexive apply, be trustworthy of their self-assessments, and alter their apply to their sufferers as wanted.
Final 12 months an utility was submitted to and authorized by the MD Committee for a full-time place, and Dr. Younger joined the Division of Household Medication’s Educational Funding Plan complement.
“We noticed it as a superb alternative for our division to train our social accountability mandate. We wished to make sure that we had an academic reference to the clinic to assist and promote schooling inside Indigenous well being,” explains Dr. Kath Stringer, Household Medication division head. “As a division, we glance to communities for steerage, enter, and management. We centre the schooling in the neighborhood and allow them to determine what their wants are. It’s then our position to find out how we are able to finest assist their wants and the way we’ll educate them.”
Dr. Brent Younger, medical lead, and his workers collect for a photograph.
New alternatives for college students and sufferers
With continued shifts in Household Medication towards extra collaborative fashions of care, college students will be capable to rotate by the over 50 wrap-around providers on the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
“The advanced and distinctive wants of city Indigenous persons are managed as interprofessional groups therefore our learners must be taught from the allied well being professionals within the centre, whether or not it’s nurse practitioners, social staff, Elders, or neighborhood navigators; they’re all a part of that schooling,” says Dr. Stringer.
Dr. Younger hopes that the Wije’winen Well being Centre’s future success will result in growth and the flexibility to deliver on extra physicians, extra allied well being professionals and supply holistic Indigenous well being care to a wider array of city Indigenous peoples dwelling within the Halifax Regional Municipality.