Within Canada, there are major inequities between the health of Indigenous peoples versus the health of the general population. Statistics show that Canada’s Indigenous population experiences chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, at a much higher rate than the non-Indigenous population. Consequently, their life expectancies are approximately 5-7 years shorter than their non-Indigenous counterparts. These health issues cut across all age groups; Indigenous children also suffer from more respiratory problems and infectious diseases, and mental health issues and suicide are unfortunately common, with suicide occurring around 5-6 times more often among Indigenous youth.
It is clear that Indigenous people in Canada suffer a heavier burden of illness and do not experience the same quality healthcare that the rest of Canada does; this is largely due to a variety of social, political, and historical factors. Working towards improving Indigenous health will involve examining this multitude of interlocking issues, and it is critical for healthcare professionals to understand how to work with Indigenous populations to achieve this goal.
The 2018 Indigenous Health Conference will provide healthcare professionals with an understanding of how to do so, placing an emphasis on the role that Indigenous ways of knowing plays in improving Indigenous healthcare. The theme for this year’s conference, Walking Together, recognizes the significance of considering traditional Indigenous knowledge and fostering strong relationships with Indigenous peoples in this process.
The conference will cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Suicide and Opioid Crisis
- Dental Health
- Infectious Disease
- Food Security
- Addressing Systemic Racism in Healthcare
- Words of Wisdoms from Elders
The 3rd biennial Indigenous Health Conference will take place from May 24- 26, 2018 at the Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale Hotel. A post-conference course will also be held on May 26, in collaboration with the David Suzuki Foundation, on the impact of environmental issues on Indigenous health. Healthcare professionals, social workers, community health workers, researchers, policy makers, and students are encouraged to attend.
For more information and to register, please visit https://www.cpd.utoronto.ca/indigenoushealth/.