Key Learnings from a Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility Webinar

Yesterday, on September 6, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council hosted a webinar in their Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility Series. It was the ninth webinar in their year-long webinar action series with the First Nations Health Authority, and the topic of the webinar was Cultural Safety Frameworks.

With more than 140 attendees to the webinar, Leslie Bonshor, a member of Tzeachten First Nation and the Aboriginal Health Executive Advisor at Vancouver Coastal Health, has clearly addressed a topic that is of great interest to many working in healthcare today. The webinar tackles the theme of turning commitment into action, or the “how-to” of cultural safety.

Cultural safety based on the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) is: “a strategic and intensely practical plan to change the way healthcare is delivered to Aboriginal people. In particular, the concept is used to express an approach to healthcare that recognizes the contemporary conditions of Aboriginal people which result from their post-contact history.”

Leslie’s overall key message is around intention, as taught by her Elders. The focus in our work needs to be on “what is your intention and then let the work flow from that.”

The five big take-aways from the webinar include:

  1. Building relationships so that cultural safety is everyone’s job; addressing cultural safety needs to be a system-wide approach.
  2. Leveraging communications, promotion and on-going education so that champions are publicly celebrated and can continue to learn.
  3. Supporting Indigenous people with storytelling; the storytelling can be done by Elders so that we can learn from the past, or it can be done by patients so we can understand the patients’ story and how our delivery of care is improving (or not).
  4. Recognizing that no matter what role you play in the health care system you have an important role to play and you can start by bringing a decolonization lens to every interaction, meeting, engagement, project or case you are working on. You are the change.
  5. Always come with intention. Know what is sought to be achieved and do not necessarily be committed to how it is going to be achieved.

To listen to the webinar or to join the next webinar – on October 4, visit BCPSQC’s Events page.

2 replies
  1. Mark Lock
    Mark Lock says:

    Thanks for the blog, Jessica.

    I like the five big take-aways assessment. I have completed a critique of cultural safety and Australia’s First Peoples (see the Facebook group) and many of the journal articles that I read state principles such as relationships, story telling, and communications, but in Australia there is no substantive way to measure, monitor, and evaluate of such principles have been adhered to. Does such a performance evaluation framework exist for cultural safety and humility in Canada? Thanks!

    • Jennifer Miller
      Jennifer Miller says:

      Hi Mark – apologies for the very delayed reply, and thank you for your comment and question.

      You are so right… what we came across is from your neck of the woods (A Matrix for Identifying, Measuring and Monitoring Institutional Racism within Public Hospitals and Health Services, by Adrian Marrie and Henrietta Marrie) and is a start, but we too recognize the need for evaluation tools to evolve and keep up with our thinking and progress on cultural safety.

      I can email you a copy of the Matrix if you don’t have it – please drop me a note at jennifer (at)

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