CNC nursing instructor publishes first textbook on Aboriginal health care

January 7, 2015 8:28 am
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Dr. Vasiliki Douglas with her textbook, Introduction to Aboriginal Health in Canada

An instructor at the College of New Caledonia has published an award winning textbook on Aboriginal health care in Canada. Dr. Vasiliki Douglas, CNC nursing instructor and expert on Indigenous health care, wrote Introduction to Aboriginal Health and Health Care in Canada, the first entry-level textbook of its kind. Dr. Douglas holds a PhD in History of Nursing (University of Alberta), an MA in History and BA in Ancient History and Classics (McGill University), and a BSN (University of British Columbia) and has won multiple research grants to study and present on Indigenous health research.

Dr. Douglas, who has taught Aboriginal health to nursing students for more than six years, noticed a gap in dedicated learning material for the topic.

“When I began teaching I was aware that there was a large and rapidly growing body of research on Aboriginal health,” said Dr. Douglas. “I was, however, surprised to find that there was no textbook specifically written to introduce nursing students to this important field.”

The textbook was named a 2013 PROSE Award Winner in Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, an honour granted by the Association of American Publishers. The content is presented in two parts, using relevant case studies and concrete examples to introduce students to health concerns facing Canada’s Aboriginal population. Part one, Aboriginal Culture and Health, is an introductory section which discusses the diversity of Aboriginal culture, history of Aboriginal health and the importance of cultural safety in health care. Part two, Aboriginal Health and the Canadian Health Care System, contains chapters on the determinants of Aboriginal health, diet and nutrition, diseases, mental health, women’s and children’s health and the future of Aboriginal health care.

The text emphasizes the necessity of cultural safety in Aboriginal health care. Cultural safety is a set of practices used worldwide in health care to treat patients of varying cultural backgrounds and belief systems so that patients may be treated without denial of their identities, and also feel spiritually and emotionally supported through their treatment.

“Cultural safety offers the potential to bridge the divide between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in the health care system,” explained Dr. Douglas. “This applies both to our relationship with patients and our relationship with other health care professionals, as the number of Aboriginal professionals increases. I strongly believe that increased knowledge of cultural safety will improve levels of care, and wrote An Introduction to Aboriginal Health and Health Care in Canada with this in mind.”

Dr. Douglas also has publications focusing on Inuvialuit and Inuit traditional medical care and midwifery, food/cultural security and reconciling traditional knowledge and climate change. She is currently working on a manuscript for another textbook that will have a focus on Aboriginal women’s health in Canada.

For more information:

Anwen Roberts
Reporter/Photographer
Communication Services
office: (250) 562-2131 extension 5595
cell: (250) 981-4234
Dr. Vasiliki Douglas
School of Health Sciences
College of New Caledonia
(250) 562-2131 extension 5304
douglasv1@cnc.bc.ca