About Us

In this section:

This has been one of the most helpful educational experiences in my career!
— B.C.
I think this is something that I will carry forward with me no matter what work or possible future position I may hold down the line.
— E.J.
I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
— K.B.
Having the ability to at the very least recognize that my way of doing things or "the way things are done" is not the only way.
— K.B.
It shook my foundation.
— K.B.
It challenged my view of myself.
— K.B.
It was a course that had an impact on my personal life.
— K.B.
I am a better person for having been involved in it.
— K.B.
I will look more closely at my own world views and values to determine how these notions shape my understanding and interactions with indigenous clients and clients of different backgrounds.
— A.K.
I have drawn on this course material already in my practice and it has helped me feel more comfortable when Aboriginal clients talk about spiritual/cultural beliefs.
— L.S.
The information reinforced and strengthened my practice with Aboriginal people.
— L.S.
It already has shifted the way I engage with clients in terms of learning new ways to ask questions and I have brought up this training and concepts learned from it in our practice council and have encourage others to participate in it.
— R.O.
Awesome program. I realize through this training that I have so much more to learn.
— K.Y.
I see it as ongoing learning that contributes to my learning and will continue to influence my relationships with aboriginal people and organizations in my work and in my life.
— J.M.
I enjoyed the facilitator's responses and how she was very open and understanding to our responses.
— R.M.
I felt very comfortable throughout and not judged for my feelings and thoughts.
— R.M.
The list of "do's" and "don'ts" was the best compiled list I've ever seen for working with First Nation's people. I will be using this list in my work from now on.
— G.M.
The amount of information was incredible. The facilitators are so knowledgeable and helpful. The course has made me so much more aware of issues faced by Aboriginal people now and the historical context of the experiences they encounter.
— V.S.
The context from which Aboriginal people come has been such an eye-opener.
— V.S.
The quality of the content was fabulous.
— C.F.
The course was non-judgemental & didn't tell me what I was doing was wrong.
— C.F.
The course showed me a better way and provided insight into some of my current thinking and actions.
— C.F.
It will help me provide more in-depth analysis in research and writing about health inequities and how the social determinants of health produce differential outcomes for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. All too often, I think I just make over-generalized statements about how Aboriginal health and well-being is disproportionate to non-Aboriginal health and well-being, without really explaining why or how that came to be the case. Also, I often lump "disadvantaged" populations (women, Aboriginals, and visible minorities) in one group, but because of this training, I will give more thought and analysis to each group individually - because they are inherently different and deserve appropriate care/attention.
— J.D.
I did some study during my degree but I learned more in these short modules that I ever had before.
— J.W.
It is one thing to learn about stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and racism, it is another to see what it would be like to be the recipient of this in a clinical setting where respectful medical assistance should be the norm.
— L.M.
We have made 'Hand Washing' modules compulsory, but what could be more meaningful than ensuring that all health professionals are expected to have at least a basic understanding of cultural competency and how to make their practice meaningful. I was particularly impressed by this course's ability to bring history alive and demonstrate how colonization continues to affect indigenous health today. Thank you so much for the opportunity to take this course!!
— S.H.
I want everyone I work with to do this course - it is outstanding! I already felt like I had a lot of knowledge around Aboriginal issues, but this course weaves information together so effectively and I learned many new things.
— S.H.
Thank you so much for this wonderful course on Indigenous cultural competency! I really appreciate all the help, encouragement, and effort from the course facilitators! I wish I had started this course earlier so that I would have more time to process the information! But in any case, this is probably by far the most helpful and informative training on cultural competency that I have ever attended! I thank all the course developers, facilitators, and Vancouver Coastal Health for this wonderful experience! I look forward to more training on aboriginal cultural competency in the near future!
— C.C.
This was a very insightful training and I highly recommend it for anyone and think that more people that don't work with First Nations should take. I am first nations and didn't know about the history and it has changed my outlook. I think everyone should take this training!!
— L.L.
I thought it was absolutely invaluable. I learned more participating in this online course then many other courses I had previously been part of. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I gained so much information and knowledge that I will take with me forever!
— R.T
Mostly, I had an honest look at my own thoughts and beliefs and where I need to make changes within myself. I also became aware of changes that need to be made in offices and working with aboriginal and non-aboriginal clients. (i.e: intake process, intake paperwork, outreach, etc)
— R.T.
I have also found it extremely enlightening and it has really deepened my awareness. Pleasantly surprised at how useful and educational it has been. I’m going to recommend to my principal that all of our staff should do it. Thanks for the opportunity!
— S.W.

About Us

The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program was developed by Cheryl Ward, (Kwakwaka'wakw) Provincial Lead, Leslie Varley (Nisga'a) Director and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) Indigenous Health Program. Together they oversaw the development and implementation of this facilitated on line training for health authorities.

The training was created in response to the Transformative Change Accord First Nations Health Plan requirement to increase cultural competency within Health Authorities through Action Item 19: First Nations and the Province will develop a curriculum for cultural competency for health authorities.


Many people have contributed to the success of this program. The following is the growing list of those whose diligence and hard work have made this training a major success:


Advisors and Contributors to the Program:

Leslie Arnold, Program Sponsor, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services; Paul Anderson, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services; Dr. Madeleine Dion Stout, Thought Leader and Scholar; Joan Morris, Songhees Christian Elder; Dr. Stephen Faulkner;  Dr. Annette Browne, University of British Columbia; Dr. Victoria Smye, University of British Columbia; Debora Schwartz; Dr. Evan Adams, Office of the Provincial Health Officer; Dr. John Millar, Provincial Health Services Authority; Dr. Elizabeth Whynot; Dr. Jan Christilaw, BC Women’s Hospital; Carolynne Sacht; Quvi Robin Taylor; Dr. Betty Calam, University of British Columbia; Ron Hamilton, Elder, Advisor; Dr. Nadine Caron, Northern Health and University of Northern British Columbia; Dr. Jessica Ball, University of Victoria; Joe Gallagher, First Nations Health Council; Tania Davoren, Métis Provincial Council of BC; Linda Day;Tara Nault, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport; Denise Taylor; Bill Mussel, Chair, Native Mental Health Association; Gwen Campbell MacArthur; Ian Knipe, Vancouver Island Health Authority; Paul Hanki; Leslie Schroeder, Fraser Health Authority; Carol Peters, Aboriginal Patient Liaison, Fraser Health Authority; Leah May Walker, UBC and Providence Health, Curriculum and Research; Paola Ardiles, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services; Shannon Griffin, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services; Andy Dunn; Dori van Stolk; Amenda Kumar; John James; Jennifer Keis; Mary MacKillop; Dr. Rif Kamil, Dr. Gabor Mate, Agnes Snow, Northern Health Authority; Dr. Lee Brown, University of British Columbia; and Dr. Rod McCormack, University of British Columbia.

Program Development

Cheryl Ward, Provincial Lead, Curriculum; Grace Atkinson, Curriculum, Research; Dr. Collin van Uchelen, Curriculum Coordination; Dr. Raymond Obomsawin, Curriculum; Jeff Ward, Animikii; Terre Flower, Editing; Anne Cochrane, Editing; Maria Gomes, Curriculum; Michelle Reid, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology,Curriculum; Kirsten Mikkelson, University of Victoria, Curriculum; Arwen Hunter, Technical Services; Ry Moran, Videography; Mike Lowry, Technical Services; Paul Crawford, Technical Services; David Malysheff, Videography; Robyn Ward, Technical Services; Jo Hund, Technical Services; Joanne Mills, Lead Facilitator; Chelsey Branch, Facilitator; Laurie Harding, Facilitator; Rain Daniels, Facilitator; Crystal Silverquill, Facilitator; Keva Vuiyale, Registrar.


Contact us:

Get in touch with the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program through email at ics@phsa.ca.