Integrating equity and cultural safety lenses to promote Indigenous health in BC’s southern interior

Interior Health (IH) serves more than 215,000 km² of BC’s southern interior. This part of BC falls within the traditional, unceded territories of the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa, Syilx, Nlaka’pamux, Ulkatcho, Tsilhqot’in and St’at’imc peoples. Within these territories are people, both on and off reserve, who live in small urban, rural or remote communities. The First Nations, Metis, and Inuit populations served by IH are disproportionately affected by health inequities. 

IH’s Aboriginal Health team is currently exploring ways in which health equity and cultural safety can be more systematically integrated into IH’s operational processes, program planning, and policy arenas. Dr. Shahram will focus on creating a policy proposal for broad integration of health equity impact assessments into the cultural fabric of IH — making culturally safe, equity-centred thinking the norm for leadership and practice. 

Dr. Shahram will bring her health research expertise and engaged scholarship methodologies (e.g. action research, integrated knowledge translation), and work with IH leadership to create a strategic plan for capacity building and policy change that will enable the advancement of a system-wide policy agenda aimed at integrating cultural safety and health equity assessment into IH policy and operations.

Dr. Shahram received a 2016 Research Trainee Award to examine how health equity strategies in the BC public health system could benefit from Indigenous knowledge and worldviews. This award will placed on hold during her health policy fellowship assignment.