Achieving Cultural Integration in Health Services: Design of Comprehensive Hospital Model for Traditional Healing, Medicines, Foods and Supports

// // Posted in Vol 6 Issue 1

Roger Walker, MPA, MHA, CHE. CEO and President, Sioux Looout Meno Ya
Win Health Centre.

Helen Cromarty, BHScN. Special Advisor on First Nations Health, Sioux
Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre.

Barbara Linkewich, RN, HBScN, IBCLC, CHPCN(C). Vice President of Health
Services, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre.

Douglas Semple, MPA. Advisor to Borad and CEO,Sioux Lookout Meno Ya
Win Health Centre.

Natalie St. Pierre-Hansen, BA. Northern Ontario School of Medicine Research
Intern, Sioux Lookout ON.

Len Kelly, MD, MClin Sci, CCFP, FCFP. Associate Professor, Northern Ontario
School of Medicine, Sioux Lookout ON


Genuine cross-cultural competency in health requires the effective integration of traditional and contemporary knowledge and practices. This paper outlines an analytical framework that assists patients/clients, providers, administrators, and policy-makers with an enhanced ability to make appropriate choices, and to find pathways to true healing while ensuring that the required care is competently, safely and successfully provided. Examples presented are primarily based on experience of the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), which serves a diverse, primarily Anishinabe population living in 32 Northern Ontario communities spread over 385,000 sq. km. SLMHC has a specific mandate, among Ontario hospitals, to provide a broad set of services that address the health and cultural needs of a largely Aboriginal population. We will outline our journey to date towards the design and early stages of implementation of our comprehensive minoyawin1 model of care. This includes an evaluation of the initial outcomes. This model focuses on cross-cultural integration in five key aspects of all of our services:

  • Odabidamageg (governance and leadership).
  • Wiichi’iwewin (patient and client supports).
  • Andaw’iwewin (traditional healing practices).
  • Mashkiki (traditional medicines).
  • Miichim (traditional foods).

Journal of Aboriginal Health, January 2010 59 Achieving Cultural Integration in Health Services The paper outlines a continuum of program development and implementation that has allowed core elements of our programming to be effectively integrated
into the fabric of all that we do. Outcomes to date are identified, and potentially transferable practices are identified.

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