Best Practices to Recruit Mature Aboriginal Students to Medicine by sdfgsg234


									 Best Practices to Recruit
Mature Aboriginal Students
       to Medicine

Association of
                  Association des
                  Indigènes du
                                           The Association of Faculties
Canada            Canada                     of Medicine of Canada
                                            L’Association des facultés
                                             de médecine du Canada

                 Prepared by: Dr. Susan M. Hill
     The National Aboriginal Health Organization - March 26, 2007
Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Literature Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Web Scan Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Survey Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

     Table 1: Enrolment Statistical Responses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

     Recruitment Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

     Table 2: Admissions Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

     Aboriginal Health Curriculum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

     Support Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Best Practices: Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

Suggestions for Further Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Appendix A: Native/Aboriginal/First Nations Student
Services @ Canadian Universities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

Appendix B: Select Canadian Aboriginal-Specific
Academic Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

Appendix C: Australian and New Zealand Undergraduate
Schools of Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

In light of the articulated need for increased
Aboriginal physicians in Canada, an
environmental scan of best practices to recruit
mature Aboriginal students to medicine is
timely.    Given the limited research on
Aboriginal students in medicine in general, in
order to examine issues around mature
Aboriginal recruitment other relevant areas
have been investigated, including:

 •   Canadian undergraduate faculties
     of medicine

 •   University-based Aboriginal student

     services offices

 •   Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal-

     specific academic programs (i.e.,

     Aboriginal MSW programs)

The results reported herein result from four
research approaches: surveys of Canadian
undergraduate faculties of medicine; Web
scans and surveys of Aboriginal student
services and Aboriginal-specific academic
programs at Canadian universities; and Web
scans of undergraduate schools of medicine in
Australia and New Zealand.

In 2002 it was reported that Aboriginal                             Aboriginal needs are most often identified
students represented 0.8 per cent of all Year                       with rural and northern initiatives. Dr. James
One medical students in Canada (18                                  Rourke has described the overall strategy as
Aboriginal students of 2020 total).1 Given that                     part of social accountability/responsibility,
Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and                         wherein ‘medical schools can make the
Métis) comprise 3.3 per cent of the Canadian                        greatest contribution to the health and well-
population,2 the number of Aboriginal students                      being of humanity.’3
in undergraduate schools of medicine is only
one quarter of the total needed to be reflective                    A major challenge of this research is finding
of the overall population.         While this                       common ground in the use of the term
demonstrates an extreme under-representation                        “mature”. When ‘mature students’ are
of Aboriginal People in medicine, it is also an                     discussed in other undergraduate programs, it
identified factor of the current Aboriginal                         is typically in reference to students who have
health crisis in Canada.                                            been out of high school for five years or more
                                                                    or students who have ‘stopped out’ of post
Multi-focused approaches have been suggested                        secondary studies for three years or more.
to address problems in Aboriginal health,                           Some students with a shorter gap in their
including capacity building for Aboriginal                          education may be included in the group for a
health professionals in all areas of health care,                   variety of reasons, especially if they have
especially physicians. Canadian medical                             dependent children.
schools have responded to the need for
Aboriginal doctors through a variety of                             When talking about post secondary students,
initiatives with varying success.                                   these definitions actually describe the ‘typical’
                                                                    Aboriginal student. For example, the Native
In many regards the push to increase the                            Nurses Entry Program at Lakehead University
number of Aboriginal physicians is also part of                     had noted that only five per cent of their
a concerted effort by government, schools and                       students are not classified as “mature”.4
the Association of Faculties of Medicine of                         Roughly 50-60 per cent of all Aboriginal
Canada (AFMC) and the Indigenous                                    college and university students in their first
Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) to                          program of study are single mothers between
increase    physician     human     resources                       the ages of 25-30. In this, the majority of
throughout Canada. Within this strategy                             Aboriginal students fit into the additional

1   A. Spencer, T. Young, S. Williams, D. Yan and S. Horsfall, “Survey on Aboriginal issues within Canadian medical programmes”,
    Medical Education 2005:39: 1103.
2   Statistics Canada. 2001 Census Aboriginal People Profile. Ottawa: Statistics Canada 2001. as referenced by Spencer, et al.,
3   James Rourke, “Social Accountability in Theory and Practice,” Annals of Family Medicine,, vol. 4,
    Supplement 1, September/October 2006: 548.
4   Survey response, March 2007.


category of “mature” which is identified as a                         research ‘mature medical students’ have been
group at risk for marginalization within post                         described as those over the age of 30 and/or
secondary studies.                                                    those who have experienced significant gaps in
                                                                      their education.      In surveys of other
The standard definitions of “mature” students                         undergraduate programs, the institutions were
are less relevant when looking at Canadian                            asked to respond using their own definitions of
medical schools and other professional, post-                         the term and to provide that definition.
baccalaureate programs of study as students in
those programs are older due to the need for a                        It should be noted that based upon the
bachelor’s      degree      upon      admission.                      researcher’s personal knowledge5, Aboriginal
Additionally, in the case of professional                             medical students are less likely to be “mature”—
studies, “mature” is sometimes used to                                in the typical use of the term—than their
describe individuals, regardless of age, who                          Aboriginal counterparts in other programs of
have worked in the field but are seeking to                           study (at all levels of post secondary study). In
upgrade their credentials (i.e., a nurse who                          other words, they are more likely than Aboriginal
wants to become a doctor). From a statistical                         students in other fields of study to have gone
standpoint it is very difficult to track students                     directly from high school to university and then
who fit into this category.                                           to medical school with no more than two years
                                                                      between any part of their education. However,
Because of the ambiguities around the term                            many Aboriginal medical students do fit the
“mature”, in the survey component of this                             typical definition of “mature”.

5   This is based upon the researcher’s [Consultant Dr. Susan M. Hill] previous career in Native student services/recruitment and
    personal acquaintances with Indigenous physicians in Canada and the United States.

This research employs a mixed-method               Aboriginal students in specific. Analysis
approach to determine best practices in mature     considers how these initiatives may be
Aboriginal student recruitment to medicine.        applicable to medical school recruitment and
These include a literature review, qualitative     retention of mature Aboriginal students.
survey research (along with statistical
questions) and Web scans of relevant programs      Third, three separate but related surveys were
and universities.                                  designed and disseminated electronically to
                                                   undergraduate schools of medicine, selected
First, a review of related literature was          Aboriginal student services programs and
conducted. Previous Web research (from             selected     Aboriginal-specific      academic
2004) by an intern with AFMC was used as a         programs      at     Canadian       universities
starting point. Additional literature was          (respectively). Aggregate and anecdotal
located and reviewed. Articles most relevant to    analysis was used to interpret the responses.
this research are discussed in the next section.
                                                   Fourth, Web scans were also conducted of
Second, Web scans were conducted of all            undergraduate schools of medicine in Australia
identified Aboriginal student services             and New Zealand. These Websites were
programs and select Aboriginal-specific            examined to identify recruitment and retention
academic programs at Canadian universities.        initiatives targeting Aboriginal students in
The Websites were examined for initiatives and     general and mature Aboriginal students in
efforts towards the recruitment and retention of   specific. The potential for replication by
Aboriginal students in general and mature          Canadian undergraduate schools of medicine
                                                   are considered.

Literature Review
No published literature exists specific to the      Canadian governments, including provincial
recruitment of mature Aboriginal students to        policy makers, have responded to the calls for
medicine. One article was found pertaining to       increased Aboriginal health professionals. The
Aboriginal issues within Canadian medical           British Columbia Ministry of Education,
schools, and it has provided important              Universities     and      Research     Branch
benchmarks for the analysis of survey               conducted an environmental scan of
responses in this research. Other articles were     Aboriginal health human resources
identified related to the recruitment and           initiatives in 2004. The research was in
retention of Aboriginal students in Canadian        response to the announcement of funding for
post-secondary institutions, the development        Aboriginal health human resources initiatives,
of new medical schools in Canada and                looking specifically at the training of
Australia with a commitment to serving              Aboriginal people in health professions,
Aboriginal communities, and government and          adaptation of curriculum to address cultural
institutional approaches to responding to the       differences and improving the retention of
health needs of Aboriginal people and               health care providers serving Aboriginal
communities in Canada and Australia.                communities.        They noted problems
                                                    experienced by Aboriginal youth in secondary
Of direct relevance to this research is a study     school education that contributes to a lower
published in 2005 based on a survey of all          number of potential health profession students.
Canadian undergraduate schools of medicine          They noted problems with data accuracy
in regards to Aboriginal issues within              related to Aboriginal self-identification.
Canadian medical programs. Spencer,          Within British Columbia they found 19
found that the increased number of Aboriginal       scholarships, bursaries and awards related to
medical students was directly connected to the      Aboriginal post-secondary health study. They
overall increase in medical school admissions       also mentioned an increase in funding to
and did not constitute a relative increase in       improve access and enhance program content
Aboriginal students versus non-Aboriginal           in post-secondary health education programs.
students. They called for ongoing evaluation        They also reviewed initiatives in other western
of Aboriginal recruitment and retention             provinces, which are incorporated later in the
initiatives as well as clear explanations for how   discussion section of this report.
Aboriginal students are identified by
institutions. They drew connections between a       The University Presidents’ Council of
greater number of Aboriginal physicians and         British Columbia (2003) reported on
improved Aboriginal health and called for both      provincial medical school expansion since
increased Aboriginal student recruitment and        2001. UBC, UNBC and the University of
retention efforts coupled with relevant             Victoria partnered to respond to the fact that
education regarding Aboriginal health issues        BC was educating fewer doctors per capita
for all medical students.                           than any other Canadian province. They seek

                                                                                                       Literature Review

to double the number of medical graduates                           for incoming students with coursework in
through the expansion of medical education                          histology, study skills and mastering medical
beyond the Lower Mainland, specifically into                        school. She calls for the Aboriginal Health
the north (Prince George) and Vancouver                             Pathway to be modeled after the University of
Island (Victoria). The expansion includes                           Washington Indian Health Pathway (see Best
residency opportunities throughout the                              and Promising Practices). In the discussion of
province. It is believed that the geographic                        residency, Joseph notes the need to consider
diversification will lead to increased                              Aboriginal communities outside of the rural
physicians in currently underserved areas of                        category, an area all too often overlooked.
the province. They also noted the importance                        Aboriginal faculty development was also noted
of e-learning in the educational expansion.                         as a key concern. Finally, Joseph made
                                                                    recommendations for program faculty and staff
Joseph (n.d.) has outlined a proposed                               including: a traditional healer, a director of
Aboriginal Health Pathway for the Division                          Aboriginal ancestry with extensive experience
of Aboriginal People’s Health on behalf of                          in BC Aboriginal communities, a coordinator
the Department of Family Practice, Faculty                          of student services committed to the retention
of Medicine, University of British                                  of Aboriginal students and a learning
Columbia.6 The report suggests a model for                          centre/library open to both Aboriginal medical
the health pathway, including faculty/student                       students and all Aboriginal health sciences
awareness campaign, K-8 community based                             students.
science program & resources, a one-week
summer science program, and a six-week                              The 2020 Vision Strategy Report 2004-2005
residential college preparatory program.                            (2005) outlines the achievements and
Various admissions related initiatives were also                    challenges of the Ontario initiative, created in
reviewed including a pre-admissions program,                        2004, to address the challenges of recruiting
reserved seats for Aboriginal students, an                          and retaining Aboriginal health professionals.7
Aboriginal Admissions Committee with at                             Of note is the increase of Aboriginal medical
least one member sitting on the general                             school admissions from 5 in 2004 to 18 in
Admissions Committee, adjustments to                                2005, attributed to the opening of the Northern
admissions criteria and the coordinated                             Ontario School of Medicine and additional
scheduling of Aboriginal interviews. Joseph                         first-year spaces at the University of Ottawa.
also suggests a six-week preparatory program                        The report notes several provincial initiatives

6   Karen Joseph, Aboriginal Health Pathway for the Division of Aboriginal People’s Health on behalf of the Department of Family
    Practice, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.
7 Accessed January 20, 2007.

                                                                                                                  Literature Review

related to increased Aboriginal health                                      current status of this school is looked at in the
professional training including the creation of                             Survey Results section.
the Advisory Committee on Aboriginal
Postsecondary Education (ACAPE) and                                         Related to the development of Canada’s
AFMC’s consideration of issues such as                                      newest medical school is the development of
admissions, support of Aboriginal students,                                 a new medical school in Australia in 2000.
curriculum development and medical                                          Hays (2002) speaks to the conditions of health
competencies focusing on Aboriginal health.                                 of the Australian Aboriginal peoples and that
The report also outlines the plans of the Pre-                              of the Torres Strait Islander peoples, as
Med Working Group to develop and secure                                     compared to the general Australian
funding for preparatory programs, including a                               population.11 In an attempt to resolve health
six week summer program and a one year                                      concerns while empowering the community, a
program to improve students’ preparation for                                new medical school has been created at James
medical school admissions.8 The 2020 Vision                                 Cook University to prepare students to serve
Partnership Table calls for Aboriginal                                      this community and importantly, to “play a
community engagement in all program                                         constructive role in the improvement of the
planning and implementation. See Best and                                   health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Promising Practices for further discussion.                                 peoples”12 in partnership with the residents.
                                                                            The Torres Strait region is a vast tropical locale
Rourke (2002) chronicles the effort and                                     which has a mixed culture of approximately 25
barriers in development of a Northern                                       per cent of the country’s Aboriginal peoples
Ontario Rural Medical School (NORMS).9                                      and various settler groups. Although not a
Canada’s growing shortage of physicians in                                  major component within this paper, Hays does
rural and northern communities has led to                                   express his belief that history has created an
government initiatives to educate, recruit, and                             expected outcome which is a lack of general
retain more physicians for rural and northern                               health as a result of the destruction of
practice, the primary goal of NORMS10. The                                  community and culture caused by war,
curriculum will be patient-centred, clinical                                relocation and forced education. He states, “It
problem-based, and systems-organized, with a                                is hardly surprising that people who were
significant health determinant focus, and                                   dispossessed of their land, culture, families,
Aboriginal health content and context. The                                  power and purpose became unhealthy”.13

8    Since the 2005 report, the Native Students Health Science Office and the Indigenous Studies Program of McMaster University in partnership
     with the Vision 2020 Strategy Partnership Table has developed a Six Week Pre-med program scheduled for delivery at Six Nations Polytechnic
     beginning May 2007. The program is designed to help students to master the application process to medical school including the interview,
     whether an individual or MMI format, and develop strengths in self awareness, oral and written communications and critical thinking.
9    James Rourke (2002). “Building the new Northern Ontario rural medical school.” Australian Journal of Rural Health, 10, 112-116.
10   NORMS is now referred to as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM).
11   R. Hays (2002). “One approach to improving Indigenous health care through medical education.” Australian Journal of Rural Health, 10, 285-287.
12   Ibid., p. 286.
13   Ibid., pp. 285-286.

                                                                                                    Literature Review

The school accepts students who are willing to                       In “Reducing unmet needs: A prevocational
work within the mandate of serving within a                          medical training program in public health
community and not for a community, aimed at                          medicine and primary health care in remote
empowering the community and serving their                           Australia”, Mak and Plant (2005) examine the
distinct needs. This program also accepts a                          region of Kimberly, in Western Australia,
minimum of five Aboriginal students each                             which experiences a significant gap between
year. An example of disempowerment offered                           Aboriginal health and that of the general
in this article is the forced relocation of                          population.14 The public health and remote
pregnant women to regional birthing centres as                       areas of Australia have an underserved
a means of reducing maternal and infant                              population.        Although undergraduate
mortality. This lack of voice and complete                           recruitment and admissions works to draw
disregard to family, community and culture                           from these areas, the prevocational medical
caused women to deny services, thus allowing                         training programs are not pulling students and
the system to blame the victim for maintaining                       workers into public health and general practice.
and possibly creating their own conditions.                          Kimberly has an approximate population of
Empowerment of the community is engrained                            32,000 people in a 420 square kilometer
within the medical school model with                                 region; half of the population (16,000) is
members of the community sitting on                                  Aboriginal. In this region healthcare is limited
committees responsible for the management,                           to clinic style medicine which is designed to
curricular design and selection of students,                         function in crisis (sickness, vaccination,
staff and research. Further, Aboriginal staff                        communicable disease) and is run by the
members hold positions within the school                             government organization Kimberly Public
responsible for teaching and mentoring.                              Health Unit (KPHU). This is a difference from
Finally, the community takes on the                                  the urban settings’ health care system which is
responsibility for housing a training                                not clinic style medicine, but rather run in
component for all students, while the staff                          private practice of numerous general
receives training via the School of Indigenous                       practitioners and specialists. Kimberly’s
Australian Studies, which provides cultural and                      program has a highly successful recruitment
community awareness aimed at increasing                              method. It is completely by word of mouth and
individual and community success.                                    limited flier posting in key locations such as
                                                                     hospital staff rooms and institutional hallways.

14 D.B. Mak & A.J. Plant (2005). “Reducing unmet needs: A prevocational medical training program in public health medicine and
   primary health care in remote Australia.” Australian Journal of Rural Health, 13, 183-190.

                                                  Literature Review

  There is no paid advertising yet applicants
apply from all across Australia. Of relevance
to mature student issues, this program is based
on adult learning principles including active
involvement in their own education and
curriculum design, experiential learning,
relevance and importance of topics intended to
ensure interest. Adult education should be
task-centered and not content-centered.
Students were responsible for their own
learning journey and in ensuring that all
required aspects of the program were met by
the end of their stay. This was accomplished
through gap analyses, journaling and

Web Scan Results
Aboriginal Student Services Programs and                                service often looked to by other schools more
Aboriginal-specific Academic Programs                                   recently developing Aboriginal student
[Recommendations made by the author have                                services. As a result, one will find very similar
been bolded by IPAC-AFMC.]                                              approaches to meeting the needs of Aboriginal
                                                                        students, as these methods have proven
A Web search was conducted to identify                                  successful for the recruitment, retention and
Aboriginal/First Nations/Native15 student                               graduation of Aboriginal students. However,
services offices and programs at Canadian                               due to the diversity of indigenous peoples as
universities. A Web scan was then conducted                             well as diversity within staff and program
of all identified Aboriginal student services                           resources, actual service delivery and style
offices and programs (Appendix A).                                      varies regionally and from school to school.
Additionally, a Web search was conducted for                            Also of note is the fact that most Aboriginal
Aboriginal-specific academic programs. Most                             students are mature students, therefore, these
of the identified Aboriginal-specific academic                          programs have generally been designed with
programs refer to Aboriginal student services                           the mature student in mind. With nearly all of
pages for recruitment and retention                                     the programs investigated, the following
information.       Selected programs were                               services/initiatives were common:
identified for survey follow-up (Appendix B).                              •    dedicated space for Aboriginal
                                                                                services and students (i.e., Aboriginal
The Web search resulted in the identification of                                resource centre, First Nations house);
36     Canadian       universities      offering
                                                                           •    advocacy for Aboriginal students
Native/Aboriginal/First Nations student services
                                                                                within the university;
or support programs. The on-line descriptions
of these programs were analyzed to identify                                •    personal counselling;
commonalties in service as well as unique                                  •    academic counselling;
programs with relevance to the recruitment of
                                                                           •    cultural counselling (often through
mature Aboriginal students to medicine.
                                                                                visiting or resident Elders/Traditional
                                                                                Knowledge holders);
Some universities have been providing specific
Aboriginal student support programs for many                               •    financial assistance (bursaries,
years. These programs have become models of                                     scholarships, financial aid application
                                                                                assistance, emergency loans);

15 The titles ‘Aboriginal’, ‘First Nations’ and ‘Native’ come from the names of actual offices. Specific terms vary from campus to
    campus but generally these offices/programs serve all students of First Nations, Inuit and Métis heritage, regardless of office title.

                                                                          Web Scan Results

 •   study space;                                 In the Web scan several additional unique
 •   library resources collection;                approaches were also identified that could be
     computer lab;                                utilized in the efforts to increase mature
                                                  Aboriginal student recruitment to medicine.
 •   mentoring programs;
                                                  Seven Aboriginal student services programs
 •   community resources;                         (Alberta, Carleton, New Brunswick,
 •   academic skills workshops; and               Saskatchewan, Simon Frasier, Toronto and
     coordination of tutorials (including         Winnipeg) either coordinated or participated in
     on-line tutoring).                           a transition year program designed to provide
                                                  extra support to first year students who showed
As noted, these time-tested services have         promise for success but whose previous
proven successful across Canada (and in           learning experiences did not qualify them for
other places with indigenous student              regular admission to the university. These
populations) for undergraduate students. It       programs have proven very successful in
is safe to assume that similar supports           transitioning at-risk students into their
would contribute to the increased success of      respective university environments, often with
Aboriginal students in undergraduate              higher retention and graduation rates than
medical programs in Canada. Given the             students admitted under regular requirements.
relative small student population and             Undergraduate schools of medicine could
related service resources, many medical           look at specific transition programs for
schools have partnered with Aboriginal            Aboriginal medical students and/or develop
student services programs in other faculties      a one-year premed school program to better
of their universities to provide these services   prepare Aboriginal students for medical
to Aboriginal medical students. Further           school studies. Programs such as these are
development of those relationships will           under consideration within the 2020 Vision
enhance the support provided to Aboriginal        Strategy and have been called for by Joseph in
medical students. In addition, it would be        her report to UBC (both referenced in the
useful for those medical programs at schools      literature review). A few medical schools in
without Aboriginal student services to            the United States host similar one-year
partner with programs designed to support         programs at the post-baccalaureate level for
mature students.                                  students of under-represented populations (i.e.,
                                                  African Americans, Latino/as, and Native

                                                                                         Web Scan Results

Americans). For an example see Michigan                          provide additional materials relevant to
State University’s Advanced Baccalaureate                        Aboriginal health. This will clearly benefit
Learning Experience Program which recruits                       all students and faculty members and assist in
‘disadvantaged’ students for a 12-month                          raising the awareness of Aboriginal issues.
preparatory program from their medical school
application pool.16                                              Many schools report community connections,
                                                                 but a few go further with Aboriginal
The University of Alberta Aboriginal Student                     community advisory councils. Several of these
Centre sponsors a Student-Parent Support                         are Ontario universities who, as a pre-requisite
Group. Such an organization is extremely                         for specific provincial funding, host Aboriginal
relevant to issues faced by many mature                          Education Councils. These councils advise the
Aboriginal students. Additionally, many                          presidents of their respective institutions about
schools provide day care programs but there are                  Aboriginal community needs and guide the
often difficulties finding space. If schools are                 development of partnerships (for examples, see
to be successful in increasing the number of                     McMaster’s President’s Council or the
mature Aboriginal students in medicine, day                      University of Western Ontario’s Aboriginal
care and other family supports will be                           Education and Employment Council). They
critical to achieving that goal.                                 are also a resource to the development of
                                                                 student services and initiatives. In addition,
The University of British Columbia and the                       Simon Frasier University lists a First Nations
University of New Brunswick both listed a                        Advisory Council, which guides the
First Nations library. The UBC First Nations                     relationships between the university and local
House of Learning houses a stand-alone                           Aboriginal communities, with an emphasis on
library with lending services available to the                   respect and autonomy. For medical faculties
entire campus. The UNB collection is                             that exist in institutions with Aboriginal
integrated into the regular library system.                      advisory councils, it would be beneficial for
These collections (as well as those at other                     the medical school to develop stronger
universities not specifically mentioned) focus                   connections to that council. For schools
on materials relevant to Indigenous studies                      without such a council, the faculty of
courses and general curriculum related to                        medicine could create their own Aboriginal
Indigenous topics. Medical schools should                        community advisory group. The advisory
consider expanding their library holdings to                     group should be taken seriously in their

16 Accessed March 12, 2007.

                                                                                                        Web Scan Results

concerns and recommendations and not                                   Housing Authority. McGill has housing
exist on a superficial level.                                          available in the First Peoples’ House
                                                                       ‘regardless of age’. They do not articulate,
McGill University’s First Peoples’ House Web                           however, if that includes space for spouses
page articulates a commitment to the                                   and/or dependent children. While this is
recruitment of Aboriginal faculty and staff.                           typically an issue for most students, it is often
The University of Victoria highlights the                              more difficult for mature students to find
presence of two Aboriginal faculty members                             adequate housing if they are relocating
within their law school. It is assumed that                            family in their move to school.
these institutions see a connection between the
presence of Aboriginal employees and the                               Australian & New Zealand Schools
recruitment and retention of Aboriginal                                of Medicine
students. Furthermore, it should be noted that                         A Web scan of the 12 Australian and two New
it is important to encourage Aboriginal faculty                        Zealand undergraduate schools of medicine
and staff to work with and for Aboriginal                              (Appendix C) were conducted to identify
students and student issues. That may mean                             strategies for mature Aboriginal student
that an Aboriginal faculty member with                                 recruitment to medicine. All of the schools
research interests outside of Aboriginal-                              articulate a commitment to improving the state
specific areas still be included in Aboriginal                         of Indigenous health and most mention
planning (with appropriate service values                              research and outreach initiatives in that regard
credited for the extra work). Medical schools                          (including the development of Indigenous
that employ Aboriginal people are likely to                            issues across the curriculum). Most of these
see an increase in their recruitment and                               initiatives seem to have a rural focus, however,
retention of Aboriginal students, especially                           which leaves questions about the status of
when they involve those Aboriginal faculty                             Indigenous health programs for urban
and staff members in the development of                                populations.17 It appears that many of the
Aboriginal initiatives.                                                Indigenous initiatives sponsored by Australian
                                                                       schools of medicine are the result of the
The University of Lethbridge and McGill                                National Strategic Framework for the Inclusion
University both mention assisting students in                          of Indigenous Health in Core Medical
finding housing. Lethbridge maintains                                  Curricula & Recruitment, Retention and
connections with the Treaty Seven Urban                                Support Strategies for Indigenous Australians
                                                                       in Medical Education (2002).
17 According to 2001 statistics, Indigenous peoples in Australia are more likely to be rural than their non-Indigenous counterparts, but
   30% of all Indigenous Australians live in major urban centres with populations of more than 100,000 and 42% live in urban centres
   with populations between 1000 and 100,000. Only 28% of Indigenous Australians live in rural and remote areas.

                                                                          Web Scan Results

Nine of the 12 Australian schools offer an        In addition to the Indigenous entry
Indigenous entry program; usually with            schemes/dedicated seats, other relevant
dedicated seats for a number of Indigenous        initiatives are of note. Flinders University
students (those offering numbers articulated      also offers a Mature Entry Scheme, which is
two to eight reserved spaces). Of the other       of relevance to mature Indigenous students.
three schools, the University of Melbourne        They also list on-campus childcare, a vacation
announces that ‘applications [are] invited from   care program and a parent centre.
Indigenous Australians’ and they employ an        Additionally, they provide a Foundation
Indigenous liaison officer. The University of     Course to allow students to upgrade their skills
Tasmania School of Medicine does not list an      in order to gain entry into medical school. A
Indigenous entry program but they do offer        similar program, Wilto Yerlo, exists at the
scholarships to Indigenous students. The          University of Adelaide. The Koori Centre at
University of Western Australia created the       the University of Sydney also lists preparatory
Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental          undergraduate and graduate courses in
Health to ‘improve the recruitment and            Aboriginal Health and Community. Finally,
retention of Aboriginal students in Medicine      the University of Western Australia hosts a
and Dentistry’.                                   one-year Aboriginal Orientation Course for
                                                  students interested in applying to medical
In New Zealand, the University of Auckland        school or a Bachelor of Science program.
utilizes the Maori and Pacific Admission
Scheme (MAPAS) to facilitate increased            Yaita Purrana, the Indigenous Health Unit of
admission of Indigenous students. The             the Department of General Practice in the
University of Otago does not list an Indigenous   Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of
application stream, but they have created the     Adelaide, has recently created the South
Hauora Maori Thread as part of their              Australian Indigenous Health Peer Support
undergraduate medical curriculum through the      Network. This program intends to develop and
Maori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI).         maintain a state-wide Indigenous Support
Among MIHI’s main activities is ‘supporting       Network for health professionals servicing
Maori medical and other students’.                Indigenous communities in South Australia,
                                                  including facilitation of professional
Nearly all Australian and New Zealand             development opportunities for General
medical schools articulate relationships with     Practitioners within the Aboriginal health
Indigenous studies centres/programs at            sector. Yaita Purrana also provides a local
their universities, including the use of those    presence for the Australian Indigenous Doctors
centres in implementing Indigenous entry          Association (AIDA). AIDA is recognized as a
schemes and student support initiatives.          leader in the support of Indigenous medical

                                                                                                   Web Scan Results

professionals in Australia and their connection                    centres of their faculty. They have an
to the University of Adelaide is credited with                     Indigenous Health Unit with focus in the areas
improving the recruitment and retention of                         of Indigenous health curriculum, community
Indigenous students to medicine.                                   linkages    and    recruitment/support      of
                                                                   Indigenous students. They have also created
The James Cook University School of                                the Medical School Aboriginal and Torres
Medicine is Australia’s newest undergraduate                       Islander Student Selection Committee
medical school (as discussed in Hays),                             (MSATSISSC) to facilitate an alternative
graduating their first cohort in 2006. They                        pathways model to assist Indigenous applicants
offer Australia’s only full medical course in                      who have been unsuccessful in the mainstream
northern Australia and are distinguished by                        admissions process. The pathway “typically
their     “community-based         curriculum,                     involves the applicant completing one years’
regionalised delivery and a strong emphasis on                     successful study in a science or biomedical
rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical                             program, and then joining the JCU SOM
health.”18 They employ 17 Indigenous faculty                       program.”19 They have had seven students
and staff in academic, research and                                enter through this program and report
administrative positions across schools and                        “adequate progression” for those students.

18 James Cook University School of Medicine, Report to the Australian Medical Council, September, 2006, p. 1.
19 Ibid., p. 16.

Survey Results
Canadian Faculties of Medicine                                         current Aboriginal medical students. Eleven of
Undergraduate Programs                                                 17 medical schools [Alberta, McGill,
                                                                       McMaster, Memorial, Montreal, Northern
All 17 Canadian undergraduate schools of                               Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Ottawa,
medicine were surveyed between February and                            Saskatchewan, Sherbrooke, Toronto and the
March 2007. Electronic surveys were sent to                            University of Western Ontario]) have
the deans of each school along with a letter of                        completed the survey.
introduction regarding the research from
NAHO. The deans were asked to answer the                               As noted, the survey focused on statistical
survey themselves or pass it on to the person at                       information,     recruitment,      admissions,
their institution best suited to do so. The                            Aboriginal health issues in the curriculum and
survey included questions regarding general                            Aboriginal student support programs.
and Aboriginal-specific enrolment statistics,                          Summary results follow.
recruitment strategies, admissions policies,
medical students’ opportunities for exposure to                        Statistics
Aboriginal health issues and support offered to                        [To protect the privacy of students, enrolments
                                                                       of less than five are not specified.]
Table 1: Statistical Responses
 Medical School            Total enrolment Aboriginal Enrolment                  Mature Enrolment              Mature Aboriginals
       Alberta                     527                         22                    Not available                  5 or less
       McGill                      675                   Not tracked                        34                     Not tracked
     McMaster                      437                         13                           32                           6
     Memorial                     24020                  No response                  No response                 No response
      Montreal                    25921                  Not tracked                  5 or less22                  Not tracked
       NOSM                        110                         9                            30                           6
       Ottawa                      600                         16                     No response                        0
   Saskatchewan                    244                         9                            9                        5 or less
    Sherbrooke                     649                   No response                  No response                 No response
      Toronto                      824                     5 or less                        55                       5 or less
        UWO                        536                     5 or less                        8                            0
        Total                      5101

20 Memorial’s response to this questions was ’60 per year’, therefore it is roughly estimated that they enroll 240 students in total.
21 Montreal reported 709 total medical students in 2003; therefore it is assumed here that they are reporting only first year numbers.
    In the discussion of increases in overall enrolments Montreal will not be included.
22`Montreal reported ‘5-8’ mature students. For statistical analysis purposes, the low (five) has been used.

                                                                               Survey Results

For the reporting schools, Aboriginal students    The University of Saskatchewan has a highly
represent 1.5 per cent of the total               developed recruitment plan, including the
undergraduate medical school enrolment.           Aboriginal Access Program (separate
Responses indicated that Aboriginal students      competition for Aboriginal applicants),
comprise 8.7 per cent of the mature medical       Aboriginal Mentorship Program, Aboriginal
student enrolment. For schools tracking both      Pre-Medicine Awards (six $2500 awards per
mature and Aboriginal students, Aboriginal        year to Aboriginal students studying pre-med;
students comprise 10.4% of mature medical         being replicated by the University of Regina)
students. This reinforces the assumption that     and the Native Access Program to
Aboriginal medical students are more likely to    Nursing/Medicine (recruitment strategy new to
be mature than non-Aboriginal students.           the medical school in 2005). In 2005,
                                                  Saskatchewan also provided financial support
Six medical schools (Alberta, McGill, NOSM,       for two Aboriginal Pre-Medicine Award
Saskatchewan, Toronto and UWO) indicated          winners to take an MCAT preparation course
that they employed Aboriginal faculty and/or      so they could improve their scores to a level
staff members, many of whom are involved in       gaining them admission to medical school. All
recruitment/admissions and/or as clinical         of the schools articulated that they assess the
faculty.                                          success of their recruitment initiatives based
                                                  upon the number of applicants, offers and
                                                  acceptances of Aboriginal students. Also of
Aboriginal Recruitment Initiatives                note is McMaster’s Native Health Sciences
Most of the schools sponsor recruitment           Office created to support undergraduate
initiatives focusing upon high school students.   students in the health sciences and encourage
These include summer science camps, summer        the pursuit of continued health education
mentorship programs and visits to high schools    leading to health field careers, including
servicing Aboriginal communities. Of note in      medical school.
this category is the NOSM use of current
Aboriginal medical students to make               McGill, Montréal and Sherbrooke have
presentations to Aboriginal communities.          reported that the Québec government is
Most of the medical programs at universities      developing an initiative to allocate four
with Aboriginal student services programs         committed Aboriginal seats per year across the
have built partnerships with those support        four medical schools in Québec, specifically
programs.       Often staff members from          for Québec Aboriginal applicants. There will
Aboriginal student services are involved in       be an Aboriginal Coach hired by the province
Aboriginal admissions committees and              to provide support to the Aboriginal students
medical school recruitment initiatives.           admitted under this initiative.

                                                                                                     Survey Results

Admissions Policies
[A detailed survey of Canadian medical faculty
Aboriginal admissions programs has been completed by
IPAC-AFMC and will be available online on both
organizations’ web sites as of April 2008.]

Table 2: Admissions Policies
  Medical School      Dedicated Aboriginal      *Adjusted MCAT             *Adjusted GPA               Aboriginal
                         Positions/Year              scores                                            Admissions
      Alberta               5 positions           Flexible but                    No                        Yes
                                              minimum maintained
      McGill                    Yes                    Yes                  Possibly, with              Provincial
                                                                            medical school
                                                                              prep year
    McMaster                 No quota                   n/a                       No                        Yes
     Memorial                   No                Flexibility for           Flexibility for                 No
                                                   in-province               in-province
                                                    applicants                applicants
     Montréal           In planning stage               No                        No                        No
      NOSM                  2 positions                 n/a                       No                        Yes
      Ottawa                8 positions              No need              3.4 instead of 3.6                Yes
  Saskatchewan              6 positions                 No                        No                  In formulation
    Sherbrooke                  Yes                     No                        Yes                       Yes
      Toronto               3 positions                 No                        No                     Unclear
       UWO                  3 positions             Flexibility               Flexibility                   Yes

* ‘Adjusted MCAT’ and ‘Adjusted GPA’ were not defined in the survey. Responses indicate how particular schools define and
use policies in these areas.

In addition to the information in Table 2 is
Ottawa’s initiative to provide financial support
to first year Aboriginal medical students.
Specifics for the program were not elaborated
upon, but it is an interesting recruitment/
retention strategy worth further consideration.

                                                                                          Survey Results

Aboriginal Health Curriculum                              the regular curriculum and do their clinical
                                                          work in the nursing station or health center
[A detailed survey of medical faculty Aboriginal health   [sic] in their community.” This supports the
curriculum at the undergraduate, post-graduate and        overall mission of NOSM to serve northern
continuing medical education levels is being undertaken   communities and is also reflective of a
by IPAC, AFMC and RCPSC (Royal College of                 commitment to better meet the needs of
Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) in 2008.]              Aboriginal communities.

Six of the responding schools (Memorial,
NOSM, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and                  Support Services
UWO) indicated that Aboriginal health issues              Schools were asked to describe any support
are integrated into the overall curriculum, but it        services specifically offered to mature students
is unclear to what extent that occurs. Several            and/or Aboriginal students. NOSM has an
indicated that cultural competency/learning               Aboriginal resource office that includes peer
objectives were included in the curriculum as             support. They also indicated peer support and
well. Alberta is in the process of developing an          awards/bursaries for mature students. NOSM
Aboriginal Traditional Medicine Course as                 also hosts Aboriginal cultural/ceremonial
well as an Aboriginal Elective course. McGill             activities open to all staff, faculty and students.
includes Aboriginal communities in their                  None of the other schools indicated mature
rotations and all students going through                  student support programs, with most
paediatric rotations are given some                       mentioning that their student affairs office
information on Aboriginal patients (re:                   provided support to ‘all students’. Alberta,
translators, liaison, follow up). Memorial                McGill, McMaster, Ottawa, Toronto and UWO
offers an Aboriginal cultural competency                  all indicated support available to Aboriginal
workshop. Saskatchewan offers optional                    students from Aboriginal student service
Aboriginal community experiences. Toronto                 programs. UWO has also developed several
has extended Aboriginal content in a ‘Year 4              support initiatives for Aboriginal students,
Determinants of Community Health’ course.                 including: a faculty mentor for all incoming
UWO offers Aboriginal clinicals.                          Indigenous students; peer mentoring between
                                                          senior and new Indigenous students; and
NOSM reports that “at the end of the First year,          fundraising efforts to support three $10,000
all students live in an Aboriginal community              entrance scholarships for incoming Indigenous
for one month in pairs (28 sites across northern          students.
Ontario) and while living there they continue

                                                                                 Survey Results

Aboriginal Student Services Programs and            developed several recruitment initiatives,
Aboriginal-specific Academic Programs               however, in an attempt to increase Aboriginal
                                                    enrolments. These include an Aboriginal
A total of 16 Aboriginal student services           Admissions Policy (allows self-identified
programs (noted in Appendix A) were                 Aboriginal students who meet minimum
surveyed between February and March 2007,           requirements to submit additional information
in an attempt to identify recruitment and           for admissions consideration), the NAPI
retention strategies relevant to issues of mature   Ambassador Program (mentorship and
Aboriginal student recruitment to medicine.         leadership program using university students as
The specific programs were selected based on        mentors and promoters of higher education),
Web scan findings with a minimum of                 and a specialized recruitment team (present to
one/maximum of four universities per                high schools, colleges and Aboriginal schools
province. Six Aboriginal-specific academic          within the province). The NAPI program is
programs (noted in Appendix B) were selected        funded through corporate donations. Also of
for survey based upon Web scan findings             note is the Aboriginal Student Policy Standing
and/or program reputation, including one            Committee which meets quarterly to discuss the
Aboriginal teacher education program, one           programs and services available to Aboriginal
Native Studies department, one Native law           students and Aboriginal student data.
program, one Masters of Aboriginal Social
Work Program, one Native nurse entry                The Native Nurses Entry Program (NNEP) at
program and one Aboriginal governance               Lakehead University enrols 20 students per
program. Of the 22 total surveys only three         year (all Aboriginal). The students self-
were returned by the date of final reporting.       identify and university staff follows up with
Given the small return rate, only anecdotal         applicants      for     specific     Aboriginal
analysis is included below.                         identification (Status or Non-status First
                                                    Nations, Inuit, Métis). They utilize an
The University of Calgary’s Native Centre           extensive recruitment network to reach
reports a university-wide enrolment of 276          Aboriginal communities and potential
Aboriginal students out of an approximate           students, including Websites, career fairs,
28,000-member student body, about 1per cent.        conferences and community visits. In regards
As found in medical school enrolment,               to Aboriginal-specific admissions they report
Aboriginal       students       are     usually     that, “We know that we must do our own
underrepresented in all faculties. The under        recruitment and selection processes—standard
representation at the undergraduate level           approach doesn’t work. [We] need face to face
connects directly to the under representation in    contact in communities.” This has proven very
graduate and professional programs, including       successful for their program and is good advice
medical school. The University of Calgary has       for any Aboriginal recruitment plan.

                                                                                Survey Results

For student support, they employ a counsellor     Social Work degree program. Fourteen of the
to work specifically with this program who is a   sixteen enrolled students are self-identified as
NNEP/BScN graduate from Lakehead. In              Aboriginal and all of the students are mature
addition, they have NNEP graduates enrolled       (the youngest is 35). They employ several
in the BScN program serve as mentors to           Aboriginal faculty and staff and indicated that,
NNEP Access students. This use of mentoring       “…because the faculty and main point of
across the different levels of education has      contact staff person are aboriginal people, it
proven very successful. This program receives     says a lot to our students. There’s a certain
financial support from the First Nations Inuit    amount of trust and comfort established
Health Branch (FNIHB), demonstrating a            immediately.” While they do not offer
successful partnership between government         experiential credit transfers they do evaluate
and university to better meet the training and    students based upon experience as well as
treatment needs of Aboriginal people.             academics. They also have offered conditional
                                                  admission to students lacking certain pre-
In the Fall 2006 semester, Wilfrid Laurier        requisites based upon an agreement to
University Faculty of Social Work                 complete the missing course in addition to the
implemented a new Masters of Aboriginal           program courses.

The survey part of this research was modeled                         While the University of Manitoba was unable
after the research published by Spencer, et al.,                     to complete their response to this survey by the
in 2005 (conducted in 2003). While the                               deadline, they did share their March 2007
response rate for this survey is not 100 per cent                    Aboriginal Specific File for Public Affairs.24
as with that study, there are still many areas for                   This file reports nine Aboriginal students
comparison. For example, their analysis looks                        currently registered in the School of Medicine
at two case studies: the University of Manitoba                      (down from 12 in 2005 and 15 in 2003). There
and the University of Saskatchewan.                                  is no discussion of this drop in enrolments, but
                                                                     it may come as a result of increased
Spencer, et al., reported that the University of                     recruitment efforts by other medical schools all
Saskatchewan had only one Aboriginal student                         competing for a relatively small pool of
enrolled in 2003, despite having three                               Aboriginal students deemed to be ‘qualified’.
designated seats for Aboriginal applicants each                      They continue to provide support programs for
year.23 They suggested a series of changes at                        Aboriginal students enrolled in professional
Saskatchewan had led to the poor Aboriginal                          health programs (Medicine, Dentistry,
enrolments, including the loss of a faculty                          Physical/Occupational Therapy and Pharmacy).
member who advocated for Aboriginal issues                           Additionally, they hosted ‘Think Tank:
and changes in MCAT minimums instituted in                           Strategies to double the number of Aboriginal
2000. This research, however, indicates a                            physicians in Canada’ organized by IPAC,
significant turn-around for Saskatchewan.                            AFMC and Health Canada in March 2006.
They currently (2007) enrol nine Aboriginal
students, comprising 3.7per cent of their entire                     Compared to the Spencer, et al., research, the
student body. In 2006 Saskatchewan doubled                           11 schools who responded to the survey in this
their number of dedicated Aboriginal seats to                        report increased the number of Aboriginal
six. They also have several pre-medical school                       students from 22 to 66. When Manitoba’s
initiatives discussed earlier. These factors                         numbers are factored in, the numbers go from
appear to have proven quite successful for                           37 in 2003 to 78 for 2006-2007. The greatest
Saskatchewan; however, given the large                               increases were seen by the University of
Aboriginal presence in their province, there is                      Ottawa (from zero to 16), McMaster University
still a long way to go for their student body to                     (from two to 13) and the University of
be reflective of the larger population.

23 Spencer, et al., pp. 106-108. The authors also noted that the one Aboriginal student was not admitted through the Aboriginal
    admissions process.
24 Provided by Dr. Fred J, Shore, Executive Director, Office of University Accessibility, Accessibility@Umanitoba.Ca.


Saskatchewan (from one to nine). These            Of additional note are medical schools that
statistics indicate a marked increase in          previously neither tracked Aboriginal
Aboriginal medical school enrolments (and         applicants nor offered any type of Aboriginal
possibly better tracking methods), which will     admissions or support programs who are now
lead to a significant increase in Aboriginal      developing initiatives in those areas (such as
physician resource capacity in the near future.   the collaboration between the four Quebec
It should be noted, however, that all of these    schools through the provincial government).
schools increased their overall admissions as     While there still appears to be some reluctance
well (by a total of 415 students, making the      regarding the tracking of Aboriginal students
Aboriginal increase 10.6% of the total).          this marks an effort towards Aboriginal equity.

Best and Promising Practices - Recommendations
In considering best and promising practices for   growing number of Aboriginal medical school
the recruitment of mature Aboriginal students     applicants. These programs should continue
to medicine, several areas of consideration       and be replicated in more areas.
 1. First, an adequate pool of Aboriginal         Additionally, more could be done to garner
    applicants to medical school needs to be      applications from mature Aboriginal students.
    created, including mature Aboriginal          Existing Aboriginal health care professionals
    students. This involves both preparatory      could constitute a significant pool of medical
    programs and focused recruitment              students as they already have relevant medical
    initiatives.                                  and other academic training and have a clear
                                                  understanding of the demands of a physician’s
 2. Second, financial support needs to be
                                                  career. However, Aboriginal health care
    offered to Aboriginal medical students.
                                                  professionals are not likely to pursue that path
    This is often an even greater factor for
                                                  if they have to make extreme personal and
    mature students.
                                                  family sacrifices. Chances are they are already
 3. Third, medical schools need to provide        making a decent living in their profession,
    an environment where Aboriginal               allowing them to support themselves and/or
    students feel respected and valued. Part      family members. Other mature Aboriginal
    of that process includes Aboriginal-          people may have completed the requirements
    specific support initiatives and              for medical school application but opted to
    respectful inclusion of Aboriginal health     either not apply or chose a different career path
    in the overall medical curriculum. This       upon unsuccessful application. Pre-medicine
    not only allows Aboriginal students to        preparatory programs could be beneficial to
    feel connected but also better prepares       these individuals, both in convincing them to
    all medical students for work within a        reconsider a medical career and to boost their
    diverse Canadian populace.                    skills for re-application. Summer programs—
                                                  such as the one being piloted in May 2007 at
Creating an adequate candidate pool. There        Six Nations Polytechnic (see note #8)—are one
is not a lack of Aboriginal people capable of     approach in this regard.
becoming physicians, but there is a lack of
Aboriginal people prepared to apply for, enter    Another approach are one-year programs,
and succeed in medical school. Several            often offered at a post-baccalaureate level, that
universities (through medical schools, health     seek to boost the skills of medical school
sciences faculties and/or Aboriginal student      applicants in key areas such as MCAT
services programs) sponsor programs to            preparation, math/science skill enhancement
inspire youth to consider a career in medicine    and advanced exposure to health sciences
and these programs do contribute to the           curriculum.

                           Best and Promising Practices - Recommendations

For    students     from     underrepresented                       not pursuing medical school. Scholarship and
populations, such as Aboriginal people in                           bursary programs are one approach to
Canada, the edge these programs provide will                        addressing this major issue. Government
increase the odds for admission (increasing                         support in this regard has proven successful
enrolment equity) and give the students a                           with programs such as Lakehead’s Native
stronger base for success in medical school.                        Nurses Entry Program as well as many of the
                                                                    Indigenous initiatives described at Australian
Financial support. Aboriginal students often                        and New Zealand medical schools. The
come from the lower end of Canada’s                                 potential for private/corporate support is
economic scale and very few come from                               another area for investigation. For example,
families capable of underwriting the costs of                       the current fundraising initiative at the
medical school. Even though many First                              University of Western Ontario could prove
Nations and Inuit students are eligible for                         successful towards bridging the economic gap
support through the Indian and Northern                             many Aboriginal students face. Other schools
Affairs Post-Secondary Education Program                            who connect financial packages with
(via their communities), those funds are rarely                     designated Aboriginal seats also seek to
adequate to meet student needs at any level of                      address this area of concern. Mature student
post secondary education, especially medical                        needs must be factored in when designing
school.25 Many First Nations and Inuit                              these financial aid/awards packages. Most
students do not receive these funds due to the                      graduate schools have long employed this
insufficient funding of this program (which has                     critical recruitment tactic to create a talented
not seen a real increase in over a decade).                         and diverse intake of students.
Furthermore, non-Status First Nations and
Métis students are never eligible for these                         As noted earlier, mature students often hold
monies. Some might suggest that if Aboriginal                       additional       financial     and      familial
students want to go to medical school they                          responsibilities. If medical schools are to
should take the route of student loans and                          increase the number of mature Aboriginal
working (which other lower income medical                           students to medicine, factors such as assistance
students also have to do); however, these                           in securing housing, day care programs and
economic shortfalls often contribute to                             student-parent support groups need to be
Aboriginal students—especially mature                               implemented. The University of Lethbridge
Aboriginal students (see previous section)—                         outreach to the Treaty Seven Urban Housing

25 For a detailed discussion of this, see RA Malatest & Associates, ‘Aboriginal Peoples and Post-Secondary Education: what educators
   have learned,’ Canada Millenium Scholarship Foundation, January 2004.

                     Best and Promising Practices - Recommendations

Authority and McGill’s First Peoples’ House         with Aboriginal-specific support systems. In
could be used as models in this regard              this research, several medical schools report
(depending upon local factors for different         partnerships with Aboriginal student services
schools). Medical schools seeking to recruit        programs to address the specific needs of
mature Aboriginal students should partner with      Aboriginal medical students. Schools should
university or local day cares to assist             also look to Aboriginal communities as sources
placements for young children. A day care           of support for students as well as contributors
subsidy would also help to relieve the financial    to recruitment initiatives and curriculum. An
burden some mature Aboriginal students may          important example of this exists in the 2020
face, especially when relocating away from          Vision Collaboration.
family/community who previously assisted
with childcare needs. The Student-Parent            Related to the curriculum, it is important that
support group at the University of Alberta          medical schools respectfully teach about
(Aboriginal Student Centre) is an example of        Aboriginal health issues. If a school chooses
another support system for mature students. A       to integrate Aboriginal issues across the
group such as this may also be able to make         curriculum, they should monitor the success of
referrals in the areas of housing and day care.     that approach regularly to insure that all
                                                    students are gaining competency in
Respectful environment. All students who gain       understanding and addressing Aboriginal
admission to Canadian medical schools have          health. If they offer specific courses in
proven their ability to succeed in mainstream       Aboriginal health, they should either consider
education. However, that does not mean              making the courses mandatory or heavily
Aboriginal medical students no longer need          promote it. Any curricular discussion of
support programs to help them navigate              Aboriginal health should seek to include
medical school. In fact, the pressures of           multiple perspectives on Aboriginal health—
medical school can plant doubt in the minds of      especially Aboriginal perspectives—not just
students who were previously very confident.        clinical information. An excellent way to do
In addition, Aboriginal students may be             this is by allowing Aboriginal faculty members
confronted with issues of racism, bias and          who are actively involved in Aboriginal
prejudice. Cultural conflicts may also arise        communities to design and teach the courses.
around curriculum and the representation of         Through their community connections they
Aboriginal health issues in courses or clinicals.   will bring important first-hand knowledge to
Many Aboriginal students will also have to          the classroom and could also be seen as role
relocate away from family and community in          models for Aboriginal students. In all cases, it
order to attend medical school, adding              is important to respect the Aboriginal-specific
additional stresses. For all of these reasons, it   knowledge Aboriginal students may have but
is important to provide Aboriginal students         not to unnecessarily ‘put them on the spot’ as

                     Best and Promising Practices - Recommendations

experts or examples. Recently, government            Recruitment/Capacity Building
support for Aboriginal health research has led
to the creation of research centres (ACADRE          Four Directions Summer Research Program
network) affiliated with several Canadian            (FDSRP): Harvard University, organized by
schools of medicine. The centres serve as            Native American medical students and the
places for research and may also entice              Harvard      Native  American     program.
Aboriginal people to apply to schools with 
these centres. They also raise the profile of        rpintro.html
Aboriginal health issues on the campus, which
will contribute to a better educated student         Summer Medical and Dental Education
body regarding Aboriginal health and may help        Program (SMDEP): six-week summer
to create a more welcoming environment for           program offered at 12 medical schools across
Aboriginal medical students. Most of the             the US focusing upon underrepresented
Australian and New Zealand undergraduate             populations (determined by each campus)
medical schools had Indigenous health      
research centres.
                                                     University of North Dakota Indians into
Programs for further investigation as best           Medicine Program INMED: includes
practices models. It is difficult to use the title   MedPrep, a six-week summer program to
‘best practices’ without conducting in-depth         prepare for MCATs or before entering med
comparative and longitudinal research.               school; and Pathway at UND, a six-week
However, a number of initiatives stand out as        summer program for tribal college students
possible models for success in the recruitment       looking to enter UND in the health sciences;
of mature Aboriginal students to medicine.           and a support program for Native medical
Some of these have already been highlighted in       students (seven designated seats/intake year)
other areas of the report. It is suggested that
these programs and initiatives be seriously          ome.html
considered in the design of recruitment plans
targeting mature Aboriginal students.
Following are additional programs that provide
promise in this regard. The examples are
primarily from the United States as Canadian,
Australian and New Zealand models have been
discussed already.

                    Best and Promising Practices - Recommendations

Financial Support                              Curriculum/Community Collaboration

Indian Health Service Scholarship              University of Washington Indian Health
Program: funded by the United States federal   Pathway: provides medical students (Native
government; offers financial support to        and non-Native) with the necessary
American Indians and Alaska Natives in the     information and experiences to make them
following programs, (1) Health Professions     better practitioners in urban and rural Native
Preparatory Scholarship Program, (2) Health    American communities; part of the School of
Professions Pregraduate Scholarship Program,   Medicine’s Native American Center of
and (3) Health Professions Scholarship         Excellence which focuses on recruitment of
Program                                        American Indian and Alaska Native students to      medicine, integration of Native health
/Scholarships/Scholarship_index.asp            knowledge into the curriculum, professional
                                               development for Native physicians and support
                                               of multicultural initiatives.

Suggestions for Further Research
In responding to the results of this research, a   •   Targeted research of practicing
number of suggestions for further research and         Indigenous physicians is timely and
outreach are offered below:                            relevant to gaining insight into the
                                                       recruitment and retention of mature
 •   Clear strategies should be developed to           students to medicine. Many of these
     address the two major categories of               physicians entered medical school as
     “mature” students—those with gaps in              “mature” students and have insights to
     their education continuum and those               share. Further, all of these Aboriginal
     currently working in the health field             physicians had to face challenges
     who may wish to become doctors—                   specific to being Aboriginal, regardless
     noting that in some cases, individuals            of age. It is suggested that the research
     will fall into both categories. Given the         focus on those aspects that contributed
     extreme competition of medical school             to their success in medical school and
     application and lack of Aboriginal                beyond.
     physician role models, it is quite
     possible that a number of interested and      •   Research should be conducted with
     qualified Aboriginal individuals may              current Aboriginal health care workers
     have either given up after being rejected         in other areas. They should be asked if
     or may not have even bothered applying.           they have an interest in medical school
     It is likely that many people in this             and what factors are keeping them from
     category chose careers in the health              pursuing those interests. Programs then
     field and would fall into the second              need to be designed and implemented to
     category; however, others may have                respond to their issues.
     gone in other career directions and
     would not be reached by standard
     recruitment approaches focusing on            •   While relevant comparisons were
     health workers. While this may be a               identified in the Web scans of
     difficult population to reach, different          undergraduate medical schools in
     recruitment strategies could be                   Australia and New Zealand, further
     employed to encourage their application           research should also be conducted using
     to medical school.                                United States medical schools for
                                                       comparative purposes. US medical
                                                       schools follow a more similar education
                                                       path to that of Canadian schools and
                                                       Indigenous peoples in the United States
                                                       have a great deal in common with those
                                                       in Canada.

Aboriginal/First Nations/Native Student Services @ Canadian Universities
University               Location                    Service Designation                 Web Address

Acadia University        Wolfville, Nova Scotia      -none listed              

Alberta, University of   Edmonton, Alberta           The Aboriginal Student    
                                                     Services Centre (ASSC)              /aboriginalservices

Athabasca University     Athabasca, Alberta          Centre for World Indigenous
                                                     Knowledge and Research

Bishop’s University      Sherbrooke, Quebec          -none listed              

Brandon University       Brandon, Manitoba           The Indigenous Peoples’ Centre

British Columbia,        Vancouver, British Columbia First Nations House of Learning
University of

Brock University         St.Catharines, Ontario      Aboriginal Student Services

Calgary, University of   Calgary, Alberta            The Native Centre         

Carleton University      Ottawa, Ontario             The Centre for Aboriginal Culture
                                                     and Education (CACE)                welcome/index.htm

Concordia University     Montreal, Quebec            Centre for Native Education

Dalhousie University     Halifax, Nova Scotia        Student Support Program,  
                                                     through the Atlantic Aboriginal     aahrp_3766.html
                                                     Health Research Program.

Guelph, University of    Guelph, Ontario             Aboriginal Resource Centre

Lakehead University      Thunder Bay, Ontario        Aboriginal Cultural and Support
                                                     Services, Aboriginal Awareness

Laurentian University    Sudbury, Ontario            Native Student Affairs    
of Sudbury                                                                               Home/Departments/Native+

Laval, Université        Québec Canada               -none listed              

Lethbridge, University of Edmonton, Alberta          Native Student Advising   
                                                                                         index. html

                                                                                                       APPENDIX A

University                Location                     Service Designation              Web Address

McGill University         Montreal, Quebec             First Peoples’ House   

McMaster University       Hamilton, Ontario            Native Students Health 
                                                       Sciences office

Manitoba, University of   Winnipeg, Manitoba           Aboriginal Student Centre

Memorial University of    St. John’s, Newfoundland     -none listed           

Moncton, Université de    Moncton, New Brunswick       -none listed           

Montréal, Université de   Montréal, Quebec             -none listed           

Mount Allison University Sackville, New Brunswick      Aboriginal Community   
                                                       Development Centre (ACDC)

Mount Saint               Halifax, Nova Scotia         -none listed           
Vincent University

New Brunswick,            Fredericton, New Brunswick Aboriginal Student Services and
University of                                          Programs - Mi’kmaq-Maliseet      undergraduate/display.cgi?tables
                                                       Institute                        =services&id=2

Nipissing University      North Bay, Ontario           Aboriginal Services    

Northern                  Prince George,               First Nations Centre Student
British Columbia,         British Columbia             Support Services                 /index.htm
University of

Ottawa, University        Ottawa, Ontario              The Aboriginal Resource Centre
of/Université                                          (ARC)

Prince Edward Island,     Charlottetown,               -none listed           
University of             Prince Edward Island

Québec, Université du     Québec, Québec               -none listed           

Queen’s University        Kingston, Ontario            Four Directions Aboriginal
at Kingston                                            Students Centre                  4D- 1.htm

Regina, University of     Regina, Saskatchewan         Aboriginal Career Centre

Royal Roads University    Victoria, British Columbia   -none listed           

Ryerson Polytechnic       Toronto, Ontario             Ryerson Aboriginal Student
University                Services (RASS)

                                                                                                        APPENDIX A

University                 Location                     Service Designation            Web Address

Sainte-Anne,               Church Point, Nova Scotia    -none listed         

St. Francis Xavier University                           Antigonish, Nova Scotia        -none listed

Saint Mary’s University                                 -site is currently down

Saint Paul University      Ottawa, Ontario              -none listed         

St. Thomas University      Fredericton, New Brunswick Native Student Council 

Saskatchewan,              Saskatoon, Saskatchewan      Aboriginal Students’ Centre,
University of                                           Indigenous Students Council    centres

Sherbrooke,                Sherbrooke, Québec           -none listed         
Université de

Simon Fraser University    Burnaby, British Columbia    First Nations Student Centre

Technical University of                                 -none listed         
British Columbia

Toronto, University of     Toronto, Ontario             First Nations House  

Trent University           Peterborough, Ontario        Indigenous Student Services

Trinity Western University Langley, British Columbia    -none listed         

Victoria, University of    Victoria, British Columbia   The Indigenous Students
                                                        Community                      services.html

Waterloo, University of    Waterloo, Ontario            Aboriginal Services Centre

Western Ontario,           London, Ontario              First Nations Services
University of

Wilfrid Laurier University Waterloo, Ontario            Native Student Services

Windsor, University of     Windsor, Ontario             Turtle Island Aboriginal
                                                        Education Centre

Winnipeg, University of    Winnipeg, Manitoba           Aboriginal Student Services
                                                        Centre (ASSC)                  servicesaboriginal

York University            Toronto, Ontario             Aboriginal Services  

Environmental Scan: Select Canadian Aboriginal-Specific Academic
University                Program                    Contact Information                  Web Address

First Nations             School of Indian           710 Duke Street            
University Canada         Social Work (ISW)          Saskatoon, Saskatchewan              files/IndianSocialWork.pdf
                                                     S7K 0P8
                                                     Phone: 306-931-1804
                                                     Fax: 306-665-0175
                                                     Email: ISW

Lakehead University       Native Nursing             Connie Hartviksen, Director
                          Entry Program    

Queens University         Aboriginal Teacher         Program Coordinator/       
                          Education Program          Tenure-Track Faculty
                                                     Jacqueline Moore Daigle

U. Saskatchewan           Native Law Centre          Ruth Thompson              
                                                     Director, Program of Legal Studies
                                                     for Native Peoples
                                                     Phone: (306) 966 6190

Trent University          Indigenous Studies          

Wilfrid Laurier University Masters in Aboriginal     Melissa Ireland            
                          Social Work                Administrative Assistant             homepage.php?grp_id=1844

University of Winnipeg    Aboriginal Self-Governance Director                   
                          Program                    Professor Larry Chartrand
                                                     Phone: 204.786.9397
                                                     Fax: 204.774.4134

Australian Undergraduate Schools of Medicine
Australian National University                University of New South Wales,                        Faculty of Medicine
42 Frank Fenner Building            
Canberra                                      Office of The Dean, Corner Botany & High
Tel: +61 25 10 88, Fax: +61 25 07 58          St., Sydney, NSW 2052              Tel: +61 2 9385 2454, Fax: +61 2 9385 1289

Flinders University, School of Medicine *     University of Newcastle, Faculty of                   Medicine and Health Sciences *
G.P.O. Box 2100                     
Adelaide, SA 5001                             pop/
Tel: +61 8 8204 5794, Fax: +61 8 8204 5675    University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308
                                              Tel: +61 2 4921 5000, Fax: +61 2 4921 7165
James Cook University, School of Medicine        University of Queensland,
Townsville, QLD 4811                          Mayne Medical School
Tel: +61 7 4781 6232, Fax: +61 7 4781 6986
                                              Herston Road, Herston, QLD 4006
Monash University, Faculty of Medicine        Tel: +61 7 3365 5316, Fax: +61 7 3365 5433
Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168       University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine
Tel: +61 3 9905 4318, Fax: +61 3 9905 4302
                                              Edward Ford Building, A27, Sydney, NSW
University of Adelaide, Faculty of Medicine   2006            Tel: +61 2 9351 4579, Fax: +61 2 9351 3196
Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5005
Tel: +61 8 8303 5193, Fax: +61 8 8303 3788    University of Tasmania, School of Medicine
University of Melbourne, School of            GPO Box 252-71, Hobart, TAS 7001
Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences *     Tel: +61 3 6226 4860, Fax: +61 3 6226 4816
Medical Building, Parkville, VIC 3010         University of Western Australia, Faculty of
Tel: +61 3 9344 5894, Fax: +61 3 9347 7854    Medicine and Dentistry *
                                              Nedlands, WA 6907
                                              Tel: +61 8 9346 3876, Fax: +61 8 9346 2369

                                                                            APPENDIX C

New Zealand Undergraduate Schools of Medicine
University of Auckland, Faculty of         University of Otago, Faculty of Medicine
Medicine and Health Sciences                  Medical Faculty Office PO Box 913,
Private Bag 92 019, Auckland               Dunedin, PO Box 913, Dunedin
Tel: +64 9 3737 521, Fax: +64 9 3737 482   Tel: +64 3 479 7454, Fax: +64 3 479 5459


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