Welcome to iCON Indigenous

The interCultural Online Health Network (iCON) began in 2007 to partner with communities and health authorities to provide culturally relevant health information for the prevention and management of chronic diseases, including: diabetes, heart disease, dementia and liver disease.

A Focus on Traditional Indigenous Practices

In 2010, with the support of the Ministry of Health Patients as Partners Initiative, iCON expanded to include activities to meet the needs of specific Indigenous communities and health priorities. These efforts have focused on engaging communities, patients, practitioners, administrators, and policy makers in dialogues around culturally safe care, and ways to meet the Call to Action #22 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

We call upon those who can effect change within the Canadian health-care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients.

In collaboration with health authorities and various Indigenous communities across BC, iCON has focused on the integration of traditional practices into western primary and acute care settings.

Indigenous Health Rounds

iCON has partnered with VCH Aboriginal Health to bring together dialogue series with Indigenous communities, patients, local western and Traditional Practitioners and administrators to discuss the creation of more inclusive health care environments. This type of open dialogue is facilitated through our Indigenous Health Rounds, which are one-hour sessions dedicated to the process of harmonizing Indigenous practices in healthcare settings and providing audiences with the tools to better understand the historical health care context to help facilitate meaningful interactions when caring for Indigenous patients.

On July 8, 2020, iCON hosted an online Indigenous Health Round via Zoom, in which 288 participants joined us to discuss cultural safety when caring for Indigenous patients in the healthcare setting. We were honoured to host Elder Dennis Joseph and Jessica Key; Elder Dennis Joseph belongs to the Squamish Nation; Jessica Key is a registered nurse and a citizen of the Musgamaugw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation. Participants were able to gain deeper insights into considerations that are essential for cultural safety and humility in the healthcare context.

Developing Educational Tools to Support Cultural Safety

In 2015, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), and the UBC Faculty of Medicine, Digital Emergency Medicine (DigEM), through iCON, jointly created a video and facilitation guide featuring First Nations and Indigenous Traditional Practitioners, to share knowledge and promote culturally safe care.

The purpose of the cultural safety training video and discussion guide are to:

  • Increase the understanding of the role of traditional healing and the work of traditional practitioners;
  • Encourage the integration of traditional healing into the health care plans of First Nations and Indigenous patients;
  • Support positive health care experiences through a culturally safe care framework.

Watch the video, A Coming Together of Health Systems:


Download the facilitation guide:

 Discussion guide

Community-based Cultural Safety and Healthcare Transformation Dialogues

Since 2016, iCON has partnered with Indigenous communities and health authorities to co-host community Dialogue Events, bringing together Indigenous communities, patients, local western and Traditional Practitioners and administrators to discuss health system transformation and integration of traditional practices into healthcare settings.

Three Dialogue Events have been co-developed and co-hosted across 2017 and 2018 to explore improving access to traditional healing practices. Specific objectives include to:

  1. Inform local health authority about best practices for incorporating traditional healing practices from a community and physician perspective.
  2. Improve health professional understanding of traditional healing and the role of traditional practitioners.
  3. Introduce traditional practitioners’ perspectives to shift practices and incorporate traditional healing into delivery of health care in acute care.
  4. Invite Indigenous patients, caregivers and communities to share their perspectives and vision of attaining health and wellness.
  5. Identify areas for improvement in current processes in hospitals, emergency departments and other acute settings in BC to honour patient requests for access to traditional practitioners.

The following graphic recordings captured key moments and discussion points at two Dialogue events.

Graphic recordings

Resource List

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

The purpose of these FNHA documents are to outline key objectives and strategies for the promotion, incorporation, and protection of traditional medicines and practices, and to suggest some key objectives and strategies for further advancing this work.

  1. Traditional Wellness Strategic Framework
  2. Policy Statement on Cultural Safety & Humility
  3. Key Drivers and Ideas for Change
  4. Creating a Climate for Change Resource Booklet

The Centre For Collaboration, Motivation, and Innovation (CCMI)

The Centre For Collaboration, Motivation, and Innovation's (CCMI) Diversity programs introduce participants to concepts that support and emphasize the diverse and cross-cultural context of the healthcare environment, helping participants to become more successful when they are working with various groups, cultures, people, and communities.


Contact Us

For more information, please contact: icon.support@ubc.ca