Indigenous Health Leadership: Protocols, Policy, and Practice


This article describes the process of the Vancouver Coastal Health’s Aboriginal Health Practice Council (AHPC) who provide policy direction to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). The AHPC operates within the unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in what is now known as British Columbia, Canada. The council consists of Aboriginal Elders, knowledge keepers, community members, and VCH staff who work collaboratively to develop and implement best health care practices for Aboriginal people. Working within local Indigenous protocols to create policy for service delivery this council operates under the assumption that to improve health outcomes it is incumbent for VCH to create appropriate methods of access to Aboriginal health practices. The council facilitates Aboriginal leadership in policy development informing health care practitioners on how they can support Aboriginal clients’ right to culturally appropriate Aboriginal health care services. The article describes the processes employed by the Aboriginal Health Practice Council. These processes offer a methodology for non-Indigenous organizations serving Aboriginal peoples to implement Indigenous communitybased research principles, protocols, and practices central in the provision of effective, culturally appropriate health care.

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