Health textbook teaches indigenous perspectives

A new health textbook edited by two University of Northern B.C. professors has gathered indigenous perspectives and experiences to offer a better look at the realities of healthcare in aboriginal communities.

Margo Greenwood and Sarah de Leeuw are two of four co-editors of Determinants of Indigenous Peoples' Health in Canada: Beyond the Social, which was published this summer.

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This book's full focus is on indigenous perspectives, rather than relegating only a few chapters to the approach, said Greenwood, an education and First Nation studies professor.

"It fills a huge gap of information in the Canadian health education landscape, offering students a greatly expanded opportunity to critically think about indigenous patient care and hopefully apply this knowledge to their future practice," said Greenwood in the release.

First Nations, Inuit, and Metis writers all contributed to the final product.

"What makes this book special is that it is has been written by indigenous people about indigenous people and their viewpoints on health," said de Leeuw, an associate professor in the Northern Medical Program.

"It also provides an artistic lens on health issues rarely seen in academic medical texts. The book includes creative voice in the form of poems, stories and other art that provide a unique and serious reflection on health status."

The release said the goal of the project is "to move academic discussion beyond established social health determinants, such as income and education, to help explore impacts of other factors, including colonization and colonialism, environment, geography, and culture."

It was important to gather the work, which traditionally only existed as oral knowledge, said Greenwood.

"These are stories that document resilience, strength, and solutions from a health context, offering a richness of information far beyond what we would ordinarily see in discussions centred only on the basic social determinants of health."

The textbook was also edited by University of Victoria professor Charlotte Reading and Simon Fraser University doctoral candidate Nicole Lindsay.

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