Challenging Medical Care: Interview with Anishnawbe Health Center in Toronto

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Image Credit: CBC

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We are used to thinking about health care corresponding to Western medical treatment standards. What about all those Aboriginal communities in multi-ethnic Canada that do things the other way, how do they get treated by medical institutions? Very often other approaches to health treatment is perceived skeptically by mainstream medical institutions and there are no alternatives offered to patients wishing to be treated in other ways.

CKUT’s Kateryna Gordiychuk talked with James Carpenter, a traditional healer in Anishnawbe Health Center located in Toronto. The Anishnawbe Health Toronto is a network of medical institutions that promotes “the model of health care [which] is based on traditional practices and approaches and are reflected in the design of its programs and services”. The center’s values are built around the concept of “cultural sensitivity” and “cultural safety”, which helps the center to [honor and respect the hopes and dreams of those who first envisioned a healing center for the Aboriginal Community of Toronto”.

“Anishnawbe Health mission is to improve the health of Aboriginal population in mind, body, spirit [and] emotion, by providing traditional healing within a multidisciplinary healthcare model”.

~ James Carpenter

James provided CKUT with detailed explanations of why the center’s job is important and what kind of services it offers. He also remarked that Anishnawbe Health Toronto pays attention to a variety of social, family, economic and historic factors that influence the well-being of its patients, in addition to medical and biological symptoms present. In this way, the center recognizes the importance of cultural background of those that are treated and expresses cultural sensitivity towards the issues at hand.

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