“Opened My Eyes”: Learning from Interprofessional Engagement with Indigenous Communities

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) has been identified as an essential component in providing culturally safe healthcare in Indigenous communities. Despite this, there are few IPC opportunities that involve working with Indigenous communities and peoples. To address this gap, a Canadian university offers a two-week interprofessional collaboration experience where groups of 4-6 students are immersed within a First Nations community to learn about its people, their health services, and their perspectives on health. 


Since 2017, 61 students from 9 professional programs have participated in this community engaged learning opportunity.  Prior to and during the experience, students are provided with readings and teachings on the history of colonization, the impact of racism in the health care system, and power and privilege.  A qualitative study using interpretive description was used to explore how this immersive experience enhanced their skills, knowledge and behaviors related to interprofessional collaboration and working well with communities.


The results found that “Ndinawemaaganag” (Anishinaabe word meaning “all my relations”) provides a rich opportunity for the students to connect with the community, each other, and the land. This lays the foundation to “Open the Students’ Eyes” to the effects of colonization, systemic racism, and the resilience and strengths of Indigenous communities. Students were confronted with their privilege and positionality which supported their “Journey to cultural advocacy/Gaa shii anooki yang” and learned the importance of working collaboratively with each other through “Interprofessional Collaboration in Action”.  Students came away from the experience with a stronger understanding of their place in working with Indigenous communities and on interprofessional teams, thus “Finding Their Place”.


In this seminar, learners will:

  • Learn about this innovative immersive community engaged experience where students have the opportunity to learn about each other, a community, and its health services
  • Reflect on how they can make space for/facilitate opportunities for a community centred interprofessional engagement experience in their own context
  • Discuss how these strategies, processes, and lessons learned can be generalized to support future interprofessional community engagement opportunities to address other known health care  disparities using a community centred, culturally safe, anti-oppressive and anti-racist lens. 
Accreditation Details

In support of improving patient care, this activity is planned and implemented by The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

As a Jointly Accredited Provider, the National Center is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. The National Center maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive continuing education credits.

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

  • Physicians: This activity will be designated for CME AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM through ACCME.
  • Physician Assistants: NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
  • Nurses: This activity will be designated for CNE nursing contact hours through ANCC.
  • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians: This activity will be designated for CPE contact hours (CEUs) through ACPE.
  • Social Workers: This activity will be designated for social work continuing education credits through ASWB.
  • All health professionals: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.