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The CFPC underscores the unique considerations for Indigenous health in medical education


(Mississauga, ON) The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is pleased to release the CanMEDS–Family Medicine Indigenous Health Supplement. It outlines Indigenous-specific considerations relevant to all areas of physicians’ professional activity, from medical expertise to advocacy and academic pursuits. This important resource, developed by the CFPC’s Indigenous Health Committee, complements CanMEDS–Family Medicine 2017—a competency framework that outlines the skills and abilities required for Canadian family physicians—and aims to optimize positive Indigenous health outcomes through a commitment to lifelong learning.

The document elaborates on the seven key CanMEDS-FM roles—the Family Medicine Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional—and defines each role in the context of Indigenous tradition. It focuses on supporting therapeutic relationships and creating a culturally safe patient experience that considers the unique needs, circumstances, and strengths of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis patients and their communities.

“This resource provides medical educators and academic leaders with a framework to prepare learners on how to engage in care that authentically respects the cultural, historical, political, and social contexts of Indigenous peoples,” says Dr. Sarah Funnell, CFPC Board Director and Co-chair of the CFPC’s Indigenous Health Committee. “Family doctors are often the first point of care and it is imperative that they have the critical knowledge and skills needed to support effective therapeutic interactions that are culturally safe, informed, and free of racism and discrimination.”

This document is intended as a resource for family physicians across the continuum of undergraduate and postgraduate education, enhanced skills training, and continuing professional development. It can be used by others who work with family physicians in medical education, family medicine research, quality improvement, and more broadly within the health care system. Family medicine residency programs can use this supplement to help design culturally appropriate curriculum, assessment, and faculty development tools.

This work continues the course laid out in the CFPC publication Health and Health Care Implications of Systemic Racism on Indigenous Peoples in Canada and recognizes the role systemic racism plays in the health and social disparities experienced by Indigenous people in Canada. Along with this recognition and in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action report, attaining specific competencies in Indigenous health is important for family physicians in order to provide the best care for this population.

About the College of Family Physicians of Canada

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is the professional organization that represents more than 40,000 members across the country. The College establishes the standards for and accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. It reviews and certifies continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licensing requirements. The CFPC provides high-quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of the specialty of family medicine, family physicians, and the patients they serve.


Susan Monic
Manager, Communication Services
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Tel: 905-629-0900 ext. 432
Email: [email protected]

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