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200 Participants Gather at UBC Okanagan for Cultural Safety Symposium

by ahnationtalk on May 28, 2015607 Views

May 27, 2015

West Kelowna, British Columbia, Okanagan Nation Territory: Tomorrow, May 28th 2015, at the University of British Columbia over 200 health care providers and First Nation community members will gather to participate in a Cultural Safety Symposium.

The Cultural Safety Symposium marks an important step forward in fostering a strong partnership between the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Interior Health, UBCO, and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to achieve their shared goal of creating a healthcare environment that embraces all patients regardless of ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, or spiritual affiliation.

“Registration for this event filled up quickly, which shows that both Health Care Providers and the First Nation Community are eager to learn and work together, said ONA Executive Director Pauline Terbasket.  “Promoting Cultural Safety is everybody’s job, and we have to continue work together as we all have a right to optimal health and quality health care service,” adds Terbasket.

This event will take place to celebrate and share knowledge surrounding local initiatives and cultural-safety tools which have been developed to improve the experience of First Nation patients accessing mainstream health services.

This “Culturally Safety” research  completed in partnership with  UBCO has found that a lack of trust and often hurtful comments by health care providers represent a significant barrier to Aboriginal people accessing health care services, thus resulting in poorer health outcomes.  “It’s great to put our collaborative efforts together with the Okanagan Nation Alliance on a topic that is often left silent” says Rachelle Hole, an Associate-Professor at UBCO and one of the lead organizers of the event.

“Cultural safety is about being aware of what we don’t know and how this can impact our health care experiences at the personal level,” says Lisa Montgomery-Reid, Interior Regional Director, FNHA  “For caregivers to bring humility and a curious spirit to each and every interaction creates a powerful space to reset our old relationships and move forward together.”

Identified as a leading wellness priority by the Chief Executive Council of the ONA, Cultural Safety stresses cooperation and places the onus on the provider who is in a position of authority to practice self-reflection in his/her practice to ensure that their care respects cultural differences and treats all patients in a dignified manner.

To view the Syilx Cultural Competency Website:

For more information please contact

Jennifer Houde, Child and Family and Health Services Manager

Okanagan Nation Alliance

Cell: 250-826-7844



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