“Doctor with the guitar” receives the Royal College’s Indigenous Health Award
June 19, 2020, OTTAWA — Lynden Crowshoe, MD, is the 2020 recipient of the Royal College’s Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award for his work in addressing systemic racism in the health care system as a clinician, educator and leader.
The award was founded in 2014 in honour of Dr. Thomas Dignan, a Mohawk physician from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory at Thunder Bay and a tireless advocate for eradicating disparities in health outcomes and inequities in the quality of health care facing Indigenous Peoples.
Dr. Crowshoe is a member of the Piikani Nation in Alberta and director of the Indigenous Health Program at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He founded the Elbow River Healing Lodge, a Calgary clinic serving Indigenous Peoples, bringing together a team of physicians, nurses, social workers and dietitians to be part of an innovative approach to patient care.
The lodge is managed through an integrated model that reflects Indigenous culture – including a council with Elders engaged in traditional ceremonies and healing practices such as drumming and sage burning – within a Western health system.
“I felt that our clinic needed to respect what our community wanted and still work within our existing health care system,” Dr. Crowshoe says.
He also sees the lodge as a teaching tool for the next generation of physicians and Indigenous community leaders. Dr. Crowshoe provides postgraduate resident clinical teaching there and organizes visits for Indigenous high school students.
His medical education research focuses on improved delivery of culturally safe care and he has been involved with 58 peer-reviewed grants on a variety of projects including the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation Network, an Indigenous dementia and cognitive assessment tool, and a project on Indigenous youth suicide prevention through theatre.
Dr. Crowshoe serves fly-in communities where he’s known as the “doctor with the guitar” using arts to connect with patients and residents.
“By finding innovative ways to address the systemic racism in our health care system, Dr. Crowshoe is doing impactful work for the lives of his patients and community,” says Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce, Royal College CEO. “His work is not only inspirational but also serves as an invitation for specialists to offer culturally safe care to our most vulnerable in society.”
To learn more about Dr. Crowshoe’s accomplishments, read our profile: https://newsroom.royalcollege.ca/decolonizing-medical-education-and-practice-through-leadership-research-and-teaching/
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is the national professional association that oversees the medical education of specialists in Canada. We accredit the university programs that train resident physicians for their specialty practices, and we administer the examinations that residents must pass to become certified as specialists. In collaboration with health organizations and government agencies, the Royal College also plays a role in developing sound health policy in Canada.
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