Log in
Log in

Health Humanities and Unsettling Colonial Medicine

March 28, 2018 - 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET

Offered by the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCHAH)

This webinar was available in English only.

Register now


The humanities (characterized broadly as disciplines focused on creative, philosophical, qualitative, subjective, artistic, theoretical, and critical modes of thought and engagements – as opposed quantitative, objective, positivist or scientific engagements) are increasingly evidenced within medical and health fields to help ensure a morally sensitive, narratively sound, and deeply professional clinical practice (Shapiro 2009). In this lecture, we take the explore the promise offered by “medical humanities” and consider it in relation to cultural competency, cultural humanity, and calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) around medical and healthcare professionals developing skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism. We also explore the professional and clinical experiences (and stories) of a practicing Indigenous physician who has employed arts-based methods in her own research, including creative practices link to Indigenous well-being.

 Following this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand historic and contemporary ways that Indigenous peoples are constructed as ‘othered’ subjects especially in medicine and by settler-colonial medical structures
  • Have new lenses through which to understand health-based interactions with Indigenous peoples
  • Understand perspectives of Indigenous health care professionals, including doctors, about the need to decolonize medicine
  • Understand means of undertaking self-reflection (and other humanities informed and arts-based methods) to further and deepen personal thoughts about racism and Indigenous peoples
  • Have strengthened CanMEDS competencies in the areas of professionalism, advocacy, and physician well-being
 Be able to envision some tangible projects they might enact within medical and health care education environments


  • Dr. Sarah de Leeuw, Associate Professor, Northern Medical Program, University of Northern British Columbia & Research Associate, National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health 
  • Dr. Terri Aldred, Tl’Azt’En First Nation, Primary Care Physician with Carrier Sekani Family Services, Medical Director for Foundry Prince George, Site Director for the Indigenous Family Medicine Program, and Indigenous Lead for the Rural Co-Ordination Centre of BC.

Recommended Reading

TRC Calls to Action:

Shapiro, J., Coulehan, J., Wear, D., & Montello, M. (2009). Medical humanities and their discontents: definitions, critiques, and implications. Academic Medicine, 84(2), 192-198.

Shapiro, J., & Rucker, L. (2003). Can poetry make better doctors? Teaching the humanities and arts to medical students and residents at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine. Academic Medicine, 78(10), 953-957.

de Leeuw, S. (2017). Writing as righting: Truth and reconciliation, poetics, and new geo‐graphing in colonial Canada. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 61(3), 306-318


This program meets the accreditation criteria as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and has been accredited by the Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University for up to a total of 7.5 Section 1 credits (1 Section 1 credit/webinar).

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the  American Medical Association, physicians may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at

Each physician should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Copyright 2017 - Public Health Physicians of Canada  /  Médecins de santé publique du Canada

Site by Merge Creative Inc.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software