Global health has been defined as “an area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide” (Koplan et al, 2009). Building upon this, a newer definition of global health was proposed – global health is “collaborative trans-national research and action for promoting health for all” (Beaglehole & Bonita 2010)
Indigenous populations within Canada are in many senses unique nations with their own government/leadership, language, culture and land base. For a number of complex and inter-related reasons, Indigenous people experience higher burden of disease and lower health status than other Canadians. Considering the definitions of global health, reducing health inequalities and improving the health status of Indigenous peoples falls squarely within the goals of global health.
At NOSM, Indigenous health is emphasized specifically in our curriculum. Northern and Rural Health is Theme 1 of the five themes to our curriculum. We learn about Indigenous health in our Case Based Learning (CBL), through Community and Interprofessional Learning (CIL) placements, and through the Integrated Community Experience (ICE) of Module 106. During ICE 106, students spend 4 weeks living in Indigenous communities to learn about Indigenous culture and history, and to understand some of the health issues facing Indigenous peoples.
Check out NOSM’s Indigenous Affairs website for more information on NOSM’s Indigenous focus, Indigenous communities in Ontario, and NOSM’s 106 placement.
Beaglehole R & Bonita R. 2010. What is global health? Global Health Action 3:5142. (Open Access journal article available here.)
Koplan J et al. 2009. Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet 373:1993-5.