In the early 1990s the Native Physicians Association of Canada (NPAC) was formed as a means to provide a voice for Indigenous physicians and medical students. The organization struggled partly due to the small number of Indigenous physicians in Canada but, in the early 2000s, it was rebranded as the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) with similar goals of providing support to Indigenous residents, students and staff in dealing with racism and other issues they may face.
The IPAC holds an annual national general meeting and mentorship forum, which this year was hosted in August by the Indigenous Health Professions Program (IHPP) at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. Approximately 35 participants from across the country gathered in Montreal for two days under the theme of “Connecting with Communities.”
Although he was not able to attend the meeting in person, Dr. Jason Pennington, 2017 co-recipient of the Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, delivered a presentation remotely over the telephone having provided slides to be displayed in advance.
Hosting the IPAC meeting represented an important step in notifying the association of the creation of the IHPP and demonstrating that McGill is dedicated to mentoring and supporting its Indigenous students. It also provided an opportunity to share the steps that have been taken across Quebec to recruit more Indigenous students to pursue studies and careers in the medicine where they are sorely needed.
September 29, 2017