Doctors look at traditions for innovations in health care

The health of Aboriginal Canadians is a very real concern in this country.  Diabetes, addictions, obesity, HIV and AIDS are some of the major epidemics that are claiming the lives of Aboriginal people more often than other cultural groups in Canada.

There is a dedicated group of doctors who want to change this though and their practices are rooted in traditional teachings. The Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada "embraces and commits to the responsibility to work together to use our skills, abilities and experiences to advance the health of our nations, communities, families and individuals," according to their mission statement on their website.

The association's values are based on the following traditional teachings:
Love - of people, communities and Indigenous ways of being
Respect - for knowledge, wisdom, communities and each other
Courage - to stand up for our ways of being and the application and integration of indigeneity in all things we do as an organization
Honesty - among the membership and staff and with the organizations and individuals with whom we work
Wisdom - use of traditional teachings to approach our way of being and with our work
Humility - to know our limitations and to seek guidance when necessary
- to always speak the truth as an organization and to speak the truth within each other

But the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada is not the only ones who are fighting for change. This week on Trailbreakers, Don talks with Allison Fisher, executive director of the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa. It airs Wednesday at 11 p.m., and Friday at 11:30 a.m. on CBC Radio One.

Last January, CBC's groundbreaking documentary series 8th Fire featured an interview with Dr. Evan Adams. He is Coast Salish from the Sliammon Band near Powell River, BC.

Perhaps best known for his role as Thomas Builds-the Fire in the film Smoke Signals, Adams is in a more important role these days as the deputy provincial health officer with responsibility for Aboriginal health in British Columbia.

This is Adam's feature interview with 8th Fire.

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