The third year in Aboriginal Health is intended to be very flexible, in order to provide each resident with appropriate, individualized training. Residents will come to the program with a variety of experiences and skills, and the communities in which they will work have differing needs. Some residents, particularly those who wish to work in northern and isolated communities, will need to strengthen their clinical base and may therefore choose to pursue more specific clinical training during this year. In addition, some research experience is strongly encouraged. The following ideas are suggested for the use of elective time, however, residents are encouraged to consult with the program co-ordinator if they wish to pursue other appropriate training.
1. Further Clinical Experience
Those residents who intend to practise in isolated regions and have just completed their CCFP may find it prudent to acquire further clinical training during this year (if not at another time), before relocating in the north. Additional training in obstetrics, pediatrics, and acute care/ emergency medicine may be obtained through rotations in a location that services northern Aboriginal communities such as Timmins, or, for specific objectives, in teaching hospitals in Kingston or elsewhere. Residents may also wish to consider their need for extra experience in conditions common to Aboriginal populations such as diabetes, infectious diseases, and mental health problems (e.g. counselling, psychosocial assessment, crisis intervention and case management for such problems as substance abuse, family violence, and suicide). Residents may choose to spend up to six months of the year in settings which will enhance their base clinical knowledge and skills.
2. Community-based/ participatory research project
Opportunities are available to become involved in research projects through the Queen's University Weeneebayko Factory Program. Such community-based research will be of use to the communities. Residents should consult with community leaders and appropriate Aboriginal political organizations when developing their projects, and collaborate with Aboriginal service providers, professionals, and community-based agencies. This process should begin early in the year. It is expected that research may be integrated into some of the other rotations (i.e. not be full time), and potential publication would be a goal. Other opportunities to develop skills in conducting research in Aboriginal Communitiesinclude linkages to the ACADRE centres in Ottawa, Toronto or Saskatoon, all ofwhich have some linkages to faculty at Queen’s who would be able to facilitatethe establishment of specific linkages for interested residents.
3. Community development involvement
Residents may have the opportunity to participate in ongoing community development projects, in order to familiarize themselves with the processinvolved. Those who chose to use their elective time in this way would be encouraged to participate at the local level, working with individuals in the community who can identify community priorities and the methodology of community development to suit the context of the cultural values, beliefs and customs of their people. The program coordinator will assist the resident in establishing the appropriate linkages for these projects.
4. Native Studies courses
Trent University in Peterbourogh has a strong native studies program that has many courses which would be appropriate for residents in this program. Residents should note that if they choose not to enroll in a course, it may still be possible to arrange workshops with the Aboriginal faculty of Trent University on topics of relevance to physicians. As Peterborough is also a site for clinical rotations in the department, co-ordination of the two may be possible. Residents may also wish to choose courses from Laurentian University's Native Studies Program (they could participate by correspondence through the "Contact North" network), the University of Toronto, or the online course in Native American Health at Johns Hopkins University.
5. More experience in Aboriginal communities
Residents who are interested may choose to spend their elective time in other health care systems in order to broaden their experience. The program coordinator
will provide specific suggestions of useful rotations.
6. Far North Experience
Should an individual resident desire to include some educational time in Canada's far north, arrangements will be made to spend two months in an Arctic setting. Dr. Sandy MacDonald is the Medical Director for Nunavut and is one possible contact for such a rotation. An important part of this experience will be exposure to isolated Inuit communities. It is expected that residents will appreciate the common health care needs and problems of delivery of health care services, for isolated Aboriginal communities across Canada (i.e. the political and geographic factors, among others, that influence the process of change).
7. International Experiences in Indigenous Health
The experience of Indigenous peoples around the world can provide important insights into both the causes and solutions to many of the health related issues facing Aboriginal Canadians. The program co-ordinator has linkages with centres in the United States, Australia and New Zealand that may be able to provide interested residents with clinical and/or research opportunities should they wish to pursue them. Please note that due to licensing and visa requirements there is a need to provide considerable notice for interest in these opportunities and that in most instances specific funding to support these electives is NOT available.