Knowledge mobilization for reducing stigma and creating culturally safe primary care


  • Bernadette Pauly
    University of Victoria
  • Bill Bullock
    Victoria Division of Family Practice
  • Karen Urbanoski
    CISUR / UVic


  • TBC

People who use substances (PWUS) face stigma and discrimination when accessing primary care. Cultural safety has been proposed to reduce provider and system-based stigma. Recently, this team completed a CIHR Strategy for Patient Oriented Research grant, which investigated the meaning of culturally safe primary care for PWUS, with a focus on those also experiencing structural disadvantages (e.g. poverty, racialization). This team comprises of PWUS (community researchers), academic researchers and knowledge users from the Victoria Division of Family Practice and Island Health. Findings included a concept map of cultural safety with eight core areas for reducing substance use related stigma in primary care.

The knowledge translation (KT) objectives are to:

  1. Raise awareness of the stigma experienced by PWUS in primary care.
  2. Share understandings of culturally safe primary care for this population.
  3. Support PWUS to advocate for their own primary care.
  4. Encourage PWUS, physicians and health planners to collaborate on strategies to improve cultural safety.
  5. Facilitate the participation of PWUS, physicians and health planners in developing and implementing policies and practices to improve cultural safety in primary care.

Besides local and provincial presentations with knowledge users, a postcard summarizing the findings was produced and distributed it to the community to support PWUS in advocating for their own primary care. We will complete additional plain-language KT materials for this population.

With this Reach award, the team will extend their reach to physicians, other healthcare providers, medical students, and senior level policy makers through two additional activities.

A video will be created to communicate the findings from the perspective of community researchers; it will be available on YouTube and actively promoted for use by senior level health executives and in healthcare curricula in BC post-secondary institutions.

An interactive workshop for primary care providers will be developed and delivered to address barriers and have facilitators implement culturally safe care. This workshop will be developed by the existing team and will be led by PWUS in collaboration with other team members. The workshop will be delivered through newly developed interdisciplinary primary care networks in Nanaimo, Campbell River and Port McNeil with a focus on identifying local practice changes. Besides enhancing the reach of findings from this completed project, the community researchers and graduate trainee will build their personal and organizational capacity for KT.