What you should know about being a culturally safe physician

In 2019, the Indigenous Health Committee (IHC) at the Royal College, an independent body that comprises Indigenous physicians, scholars and other health care professionals, created a vision for Indigenous health and care:

Create health care that is free of racism
where every Indigenous person is treated with respect, recognized as an individual rather than a stereotype and experiences the highest level of health, and that all stakeholders understand how colonial structures and systems link to current health inequities.

Working together, the IHC and the Royal College are taking steps to focus on Indigenous health education across all residency training programs and throughout professional practice by providing educational tools and resources.

The following resources have been developed by the IHC and are eligible for continuing professional development credits under the Royal College Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program.

You will

  1. learn that Indigenous patients are culturally rich and resilient
  2. link Indigenous health values and principles with CanMEDS Roles
  3. explore culturally safe patient-physician practices and the benefits of trauma-informed care
  4. find the underlying social factors resulting in Indigenous patients being treated inequitably
  5. see how colonization, legislation and policies continue to perpetuate systemic racism
  6. strengthen relationship building and advocacy skills to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism


  • Indigenous Health Values and Principles Statement, Second Edition (2019)

    Learn about the health values important to Indigenous People and how the CanMEDS framework relates to them with actionable principles that guide culturally safe health care.

  • Indigenous Health Primer (2019)

    Learn essential knowledge about Indigenous health in this rich compendium including case studies of Indigenous experiences, insights from Indigenous Fellows and more than 170 reference links.

    (MOC Program credits for each foundational reading document above: Two (2) credits per hour, Section 2 Self-learning: Planned learning: Personal Learning Project)

Guidance documents

  • Indigenous health in specialty postgraduate medical education guide

    The Indigenous health in specialty postgraduate medical education guide responds directly to faculties of medicine looking to enhance Indigenous health curricula and programming.

  • Cultural safety guidance for clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Health care professionals: increase your knowledge on why and how to follow culturally safe practices when treating patients with this one-page public health guide.

    (MOC Program credits: One (1) credit per article, Section 2 Self-learning: Scanning: Reading a journal article)

  • Indigenous health content in postgraduate medical education: An environmental scan

    Read about the “state of readiness” of the 17 faculties of medicine in Canada to integrate Indigenous health in postgraduate medical education curriculum and programming.

Online courses

  • San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

    Develop understanding and promote positive partnerships between clinicians and Indigenous People. Although developed in British Columbia, the learning benefits are transferrable.

    Access the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

  • Ontario Indigenous Cultural Safety Program (developed in collaboration with San’yas Cultural Safety Training)

    Improve health care experiences and outcomes by increasing respect and understanding of the unique history and current realities of Indigenous communities.

    Access the Ontario Indigenous Cultural Safety Program

    (MOC Program credits for each on-line course above: Three (3) credits per hour, Section 3 Knowledge assessment: Accredited self-assessment programs)

The Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health (Women’s College Hospital) takes an innovative approach to mobilize and implement recommendations specific to healthcare and education from the documents below:

Learn more. Get involved.