Elective Years 1 and 2: Indigenous Health

Department: Medical Student's Association
Title: Indigenous  Health
Location: Varies

12 hours




Preceptor: Dr Katherine Smith  kesmith@ualberta.ca

Marissa Nakoochee


Currently in First Nations communities, the life expectancy is lower than the national average, the rate of suicide is 5-7 times higher, and preventable circulatory disease and injury account for 50% of their total deaths1. This elective will provide an overview of the connection between historical and current government practices towards FN/M peoples and the resultant intergenerational health outcomes indicated above; an overview of traditional medicine practice; an introduction to cultural safety with FN/M populations; and an introduction to community health research. It will involve a lecture series, small group work and participation in sweat lodge ceremony.


1IPAC-AFMC First Nations, Inuit, Métis Health Core Competencies (PDF)

  • To describe the various health care services that are delivered to FN/M peoples, and the historical basis for the systems as they pertain to these communities. Describe the similarities and differences of insured and non-insured health benefits for FN/M peoples.
  • To identify and describe the range of healing and wellness practice and experience an example of the value of spiritual healing by participating in a sweat lodge ceremony.
  • To describe cultural safety as it pertains to FN/M patients.
  • To discern the concepts of community development, ownership, consultation, empowerment, capacity-building, reciprocity and respect in relation to health care, delivery in and by FN/M communities. Describe examples of ways to respectfully engage with and give back to FN/M communities as a medical learner.
Additional Notes:

The Indigenous Health elective may be completed in its entirety, or selected hours may be used towards completing the 12 Hour Community Engagement elective. To receive any credit for the Community Engagement elective, you must complete a minimum of 12 hours in electives classified under "Community Engagement".


Last Updated: September 20, 2022