Our journey is guided by our:
- Commitment to embracing the truth of Canada’s history as the first step toward reconciliation.
- Humility, recognizing that our journey has just begun with much more road ahead than behind us.
- Resolve to collaborate with Indigenous leaders, communities, practitioners and patients so that current and future pharmacists are positioned to provide the culturally-informed and safe care all patients deserve.
The following four areas are signposts on our path.
Recruitment and support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners
We have modified our Admissions processes to welcome more Indigenous learners and are working with Indigenous leadership at the university to ensure that we support learners once they join us. We will work with Indigenous community leaders to begin educating elementary and secondary school students about the contribution pharmacists can make and the exciting opportunities that exist for graduates of our programs.
Indigenization of our curriculum
We are implementing a longitudinal curriculum that instills culturally safe behaviours through a foundational course, touchpoints in each year of our program and an innovative experiential program that sees students providing care to Indigenous patients and, where appropriate, participating in activities led by Indigenous communities.
Recruitment and support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis faculty and staff
“Nothing about us without us” informs everything we do. It is critical then that we attract Indigenous scholars and staff members to help us understand how to decolonize how we learn, work and practice. Indigenous leadership at the university will guide us to ensure our hiring and management processes are inclusive and equitable and our workplace is welcoming and safe.
Faculty and staff training
Recognizing that most of our faculty and staff were taught an inaccurate rendering of Canada’s history, it’s important that faculty and staff have opportunities to “unlearn” that teaching and overcome the biases that accompany it. We have offered online training to all faculty and staff and continue to provide ongoing education through a variety of online and in-person learning programs.
Our journey so far
- More to come
- Pharmacy Council approves Cultural Safety in Patient Care course
- Additional experiential learning opportunities developed
- Secure educational funding for teaching initiative
- The University of Waterloo STEM Indigenization Community of Practice received LITE grant funding for their project "Indigenous-accepted STEM instructor resources for Indigenization”
- Continue to deliver Indigenous-focused events like digital residential school tour
"To settlers like myself who learned nothing of this history during my own education, it made it all very real…not something abstract that happened a long time ago in some far away place. This school continued to operate until fairly recently and is close to home."
- Rosemary Killeen, Director, Distance Education and Continuing Professional Development, reflecting on the residential school tour
- Join the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Community of Practice on Indigenization
- This group delivers their first event featuring Veselin Jungic talking about Math Catchers, a community-based program to engage First Nations children and youth in studying mathematics
- Launch curriculum renewal project
- Indigenous elements to be embedded in courses throughout pharmacy curriculum
- Examples include: NIHB billing infographic (PDF by WholeHealth Pharmacy Partners) and lesson incorporated in Professional Practice series
- Introduce Indigenous Applicants admission stream
- Indigenization Strategy for the School of Pharmacy unanimously approved at Pharmacy Council
- Formally create Indigenization Advisory Council
- Launch Indigenous history training for faculty and staff
"Often in health care, we talk about vulnerability and inequity. However, putting these issues in their historical context for Indigenous health is essential for us to move forward to tackle racism and inequity in health care. It is essential to Indigenize our training of pharmacists to have better health-care workers that serve patients."
- Prof. Wasem Alsabbagh on the Four Seasons of Reconciliation training
- School releases a new strategic plan which identifies commitments to Indigenization
- Developed Indigenization Strategy for the School of Pharmacy in collaboration with Indigenous and academic partners
"I believe it is critically important that Indigenous youth see pharmacy as a profession where they can have a positive and meaningful impact on the health of their community. We as a School are making strides towards improving the training that we provide to all our students so that they have the knowledge and skills to provide care to Indigenous peoples in a culturally appropriate manner."
- David Edwards, former Hallman Director
- Begin delivering roster of Indigenous-focused events
- Collaborate on research about experiential learning opportunities
- Continue working with partners to develop experiential learning co-ops and rotation sites in Indigenous communities
- Develop Indigenous Working Group for School
- Pharmacy hosts Dr. Jaris Swidrovich, Indigenous advocate
- Dr. Swidrovich, Canada's first self-identified First Nations Doctor of Pharmacy, guided the development of our Indigenization Strategy and presented to faculty, staff and students. A recording of his presentation continues to be used in our curriculum to inspire our students today.
- Form the Decolonizing UW Health Studies Working Group
- The group includes members from the Schools of Pharmacy, Optometry and Vision Science, Public Health and Health Systems and Renison College School of Social Work
- Begin establishing partnerships
- With First Nations, Inuit and Métis health-care providers and community members
- With Pharmacy educators across Canada committed to Indigenization
- Within University of Waterloo and other academic Indigenization groups
“We hear about systemic racism in the classroom but it’s different to be able to appreciate the effects of it first-hand. My experiences in Sioux Lookout made me want to be the kind of pharmacist who provides equitable health care. At the hospital here, I have so many opportunities to do just that.”
- Christine Sorin, Rx2019, pharmacist in Sioux Lookout
Past events include:
- Decolonizing Health Studies at UW workshop (PDF)
- Residential School Tour at the Woodland Cultural Centre
- Indigenization Symposium at the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada annual conference, featuring Cindy Blackstock, professor from Gitksan First Nation and Indigenous advocate (left)
- Understanding Indigenous People’s History, Culture and Contemporary Issues (PDF)
- Interprofessional Approach to Addictions Treatment in the Indigenous Population
- Indigenous Ways of Working with Addiction workshop
- Math Catchers: Veselin Jungic on education and Indigenous Allyship
Keep an eye on our Events Feed for upcoming events.
We have learners in communities across Ontario and work hard to build partnerships in all environments, from urban to rural, hospital to community, and more.
- Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Indigenous Initiatives group
- Decolonizing UW Health Studies Working Group: includes Faculty of Science, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Renison School of Social Work, Faculty of Health
- Truth and Reconciliation Special Interest Group, Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada
- STEM Community of Practice
Example resource developed with partners: the below AFPC portal is available to pharmacy educators across Canada and shares resources for Indigenization efforts in pharmacy education.