UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety

“As a leading educator of the health sciences we not only have a responsibility to address the health inequities resulting from colonialism, but we also have a unique opportunity to shape how healthcare is practiced and delivered well into the future.”

-Professor Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British Columbia

The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health’s UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) aims to prepare future health care professionals to provide quality, culturally safe care, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

UBC 23 24 ICS is a required component of 13 UBC health professional programs and is delivered in partnership with UBC Health as part of an interdisciplinary integrated approach to health professional education.

Students engage in this foundational Indigenous cultural safety learning experience that covers topics of Indigenous perspectives of history, the legacy of colonialism in Canada, Indigenous peoples’ health and Canada’s healthcare system. The learning experience consists of online modules and two in-person workshops for a total of 12.5 hours of learning.

By educating health professional students about how we got to where we are today and how Canada’s colonial legacy impacts not only Indigenous peoples and communities but all Canadians, future healthcare professionals will be better prepared and more committed to providing quality culturally safe care to Indigenous people.


UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety has been developed as part of a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to Action, specifically Calls to Action #23 and #24.

#23. We call upon all levels of government to:

  • Increase the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the health-care field.
  • Ensure the retention of Aboriginal health-care providers in Aboriginal communities
  • Provide cultural competency training for all health-care professionals.

#24. We call upon medical and nursing schools in Canada to require all students to take a course dealing with Aboriginal health issues, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, and Indigenous teachings and practices. This will require skill-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.



Copy of ‘Image of a nurse with a patient’ from Health Canada. Original available here.

"Cultural safety and humility training is moving from a place of being a wonderful addition or insightful add-on, to something that’s non-negotiable in the training and education of professionals, academics and citizens of the country that we are trying to become. How do I connect with the people that I am supposed to be caring for, in order to provide quality, culturally safe care and ultimately achieve improved health outcomes?"

-Nadine Caron, Co-Director of the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health


Inquiries regarding this curriculum can be made to the UBC 23 24 ICS Curriculum Manager at 23.24@ubc.ca


Indigenous Cultural Safety

"Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts." -Justice Murray Sinclair

What is Indigenous Cultural Safety?

As defined by the First Nations Health Authority, "Cultural Safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving health care."
Cultural Safety includes practicing Cultural Humility. Cultural Humility, as defined by the First Nations Health Authority, "is a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience."

Tenets of Cultural Safety
Each component of the UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety curriculum is grounded in one of the tenets of cultural safety.  The tenets are as follows:
Module One Cultural safety and cultural humility requires a practice of self-reflection, beginning with self-awareness of one's own social, historical, and geographical location.
Cultural Humility & Allyship Workshop Cultural safety emphasizes partnership and reciprocity, which includes building relationships, establishing trust and employing respectful processes of engagement.
Module Two Cultural safety is inclusive of cultural competency, part of which is having knowledge of the history of Indigenous people and the colonial history of Canada.
Module Three Cultural safety takes into consideration power imbalances and applies a social justice lens to health care practice, empowering the patient/client to be equal decision makers in their care plans and supporting self-determination.
Module Four & Transforming Care Workshop It is the client/patient who determines whether the care they receive is culturally safe.



This curriculum aims to shift the focus away from narratives that begin with and pathologize Indigenous health disparities.  Instead, the modules examine structures and systems and our own positionality within these structures. Students are encouraged to reflect on how as individuals we perpetuate the marginalization of Indigenous people through our compliance with the current system or act as allies and agents of change toward equity, specifically in healthcare.



The content, organization and design were developed in consultation with an advisory committee representing UBC faculties and health professional programs, the First Nations Health Authority, and Indigenous leaders, community members, and organizations.

The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health worked collaboratively with many departments at UBC in the development and implementation of the modules, such as the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBC Studios, UBC Health, UBC Student Services Health and Wellness and Counseling Services, Copyright and Permissions, and UBC First Nations House of Learning.

The learning experience contains an online introduction, four core online modules, and two in-person workshops, which are co-facilitated by one Indigenous facilitator and one non-Indigenous/Ally facilitator.

The modules include a wealth of resources for student self-directed learning. Whether students are learning for the first time or have had extensive education and experience we provide a broad range of material for students to engage with at whatever level of knowledge they have, it’s up to the student how deep of a dive they want to take.


Curriculum Learning Objectives

Click on the link below to access the UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety Curriculum Overview and view module and workshop learning objectives.

UBC 23 24 ICS Curriculum Overview


Online Modules



Two workshops are integrated into the UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety learning experience. The 'Cultural Humility & Allyship Workshop' occurs at the beginning, after students complete Module One. The 'Transforming Care Workshop' completes the learning experience for students after they have engaged with Modules Two to Four.

UBC 23 24 ICS partnered with IndigenEYEZ on the design and development of the workshops. This partnership continues each fall as IndigenEYEZ provides Indigenous facilitators to help deliver these workshops to over 1000 students. Explore their website to learn more about the amazing work they do!

Here are some images from our facilitator training session in October 2018.





The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health would like to acknowledge with gratitude:

UBC 23 24 ICS Interviewees

  • Elder Gerry Oleman, St’at’imc from Tsal’alh (Shalalth B.C.)
  • Chief Wayne Christian, Splatsin, Secwepemc
  • Gwen Point, Skowkale First Nation, Stó:lō
  • Janine Stevenson, RN, BScN, MSN, CDC Nurse Specialist, Indigenous Wellness Team Manager First Nations Health Authority
  • Mark Tyndall, MD, ScD, FRCPC, Executive Medical Director British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
  • Santa Ono, UBC President & Vice Chancellor

UBC 23 24 ICS Narrators

  • Elder Gerry Oleman, St’at’imc from Tsal’alh (Shalalth B.C.)
  • Tiffany Moses, Dene, from Pehdzeh Ki First Nation, Northwest Territories

Musqueam Nation

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)


  • Kelly Terbasket, Syilx/Okanagan Nation, Program Director
  • Jeska Slater, Ochekwi Sipi (Fisher River Cree Nation), Vancouver Program Coordinator
  • Kim Haxton, Potowatomi from the Wasauksing First Nation, UBC 23 24 ICS Facilitator Trainer

Museum of Anthropology (MOA)

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA)

Royal British Columbia Museum

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)


  • Fred Cattroll
  • Melody Charlie, Ahousat First Nation
  • Nadya Kwandibens, Anishinaabe (Ojibwe)

UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT)

  • Andrea Han, Associate Director, Curriculum and Course Services
  • Carmine Murano, former Educational Consultant: Learning Design

UBC First Nations House of Learning Longhouse

UBC Health

  • Angela Wagner, Education Program Coordinator
  • John Cheng, Web and Educational Technology Manager
  • Victoria Wood, Curriculum Manager
  • UBC Health Health Curriculum Committee

UBC Information and Technology

UBC Learning Circle

  • David Tu, MD
  • Elder Roberta Price, Coast Salish, Snuneymuxw and Cowichan Nations

UBC Okanagan

UBC Public Affairs

UBC Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office

UBC School of Population and Public Health

UBC Student Services Health and Wellness

UBC Studios

  • Chris Spencer, Producer

The Cedar Project

UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety Curriculum Committee

And all our contributors, workshop facilitators and supporters.

From all of us at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health,

Dr. Nadine Caron, Co-Director, Anishnawbe, Sagamok First Nation

Dr. Martin Schechter, Co-Director

UBC 23 24 ICS Design by: CTLT, Gabriel Lascu