Healthcare Equity and Anti-Racism for Youth: The Future Starts with Us


With the use of personal narratives and research, emphasizing the experiences of Indigenous, Black, and racialized communities of diverse genders, the workshop will illustrate how to create safety and change towards equity within the current healthcare system. As two youth facilitators, we hope to educate individuals on the disparities present within the healthcare system, for racialized individuals of all ages and genders. We hope to use our personal and professional experiences, research, and future innovations to facilitate a desperately needed conversation to develop methods to address the concerns and build a framework for greater safety in the healthcare system for diverse youth. We will outline the various ways that individuals can support creating safety within the current system during this workshop. Participants will join us in collaborating and brainstorming ways to support a future where everyone’s culture and identity are honoured, and health and culture are viewed as intertwined.


Seren Friskie
Seren Friskie is Provincial Youth Engagement & Indigenous Wellness Coordinator at Foundry. Seren has brought her passion for youth health and wellness to various organizations and research projects, including CMHA-BC & National, SARAVYC (Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Center), iMPACTS: Collaborations to address sexual violence on campuses, The McCreary Center Society, We Matter, Frayme and now Foundry. Seren is working to bring more equitable, youth friendly, accessible and innovative services to support youth and families in communities across Canada. She credits her own lived experience with mental illness, as well as her family’s experience, in fuelling her passion for building the capacity, resilience, and literacy of people who have loved ones experiencing difficulties with their mental health. When she’s not studying or working Seren is organizing in her community, exploring all that the Coast Salish land has to gift us, or spending time with her family and friends.

Gurvaan Mann

Key takeaways

  • The current healthcare system is built with eurocentric perspectives of medicine and often invalidates traditional and holistic approaches to care
    • Significant differences in wait times of accessing adequate care between white people and people of colour
      • For example, Black people are often diagnosed with much more stigmatizing mental health diagnoses
  • Review of the “In Plain Site” report: discusses racism and stereotyping of Indigenous peoples in BC and in discussion with 9000 people
    • 84% of indigenous peoples experienced racism that prevented them from accessing care and worsen their health as a result
    • To address systemic racism, racism in policies, laws and institutions must first be addressed and restructured
  • CASH: Cultural Agility, Safety, and Humility
    • Cultural agility: the ability to work respectfully, knowledgeably, and effectively with all cultures
      • For example, noticing and readily adapting to cultural uniqueness, and an openness to unfamiliar experiences
    • Cultural safety: an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in healthcare systems
      • Recognizing the social determinants of health and ensuring all people are safe when they interact with the healthcare system
    • Cultural humility: a process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust

Key Learning Objectives (defined by presenters)

  1. Cultural Humility and Safety start with us as healthcare leaders and it is up to us to do the work and shift organizations to change and evolve
  2. Cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism results cannot be achieved without the participation and decision-making power being shared with a diverse range of youth, family members, caregivers, and healthcare staff
  3. New skills and ideas about how to implement this work in their own organizations (i.e organizational assessment tools, organizational change practices)
  4. Participants of this workshop feel energized, passionate, and have some new tools to work with to bring forward change for all young people accessing services. We hope to inspire and spur dialogue about anti-racism, the importance of this work, and the ability to work together as an organization. We want to share what we have learned, are continuing to learn, and how we hope to implement these newfound ideas into actionable steps

Key Themes

  1. Dismantling systemic racism in Canadian Healthcare
  2. Respectful care delivery

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