Indigenous Dermatology in Canada

What do we know, and what are the needs?

On March 18th and 20th, 2021 we held our first national Indigenous Skin Summit to coincide with Australia’s Close the Gap Day, chaired by Drs. Rachel Asiniwasis and Gary Sibbald. This virtual summit hosted many presenters, both Indigenous and allies, with objectives surrounding improving patient care and treatment strategies for Indigenous patients with skin disease in a culturally holistic context.

Links: Close the Gap Day: Australia Canada 

Our topics of presentation and discussion during this summit included the following:

1. Dr. A. Blair Stonechild (Rachel’s dad and Indigenous historian at First Nations University of Canada): “An Overview of Indigenous History: How Did We Get Here?”

2. Dr. Carrie Bourassa: “Culturally Safe Care for Indigenous Peoples: Addressing Systemic Racism”

3. Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis: “Indigenous Dermatology: Common Skin Disorders and Diseases in Indigenous Communities”

4. Dr. Veronica McKinney: “Listening to the Indigenous Patient (Part I)”

5. Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis: “Listening to the Indigenous Patient (Part 2): Experience in Northern & Remote Communities”

6. Dr. Alika Lafontaine: “Environmental and Sustainability Considerations from an Indigenous Perspective”

7. Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis: “Indigenous Dermatology: Challenging Disorders and Diseases”

8. Dr. Veronica McKinney: “Health Comorbidities and Treatment Implications”

9. Tara-Rose Farrell (MA, CYC): “Working with Indigenous Children: An Ally’s Perspective”

10. Dr. Gary Sibbald: “Wound Healing for Indigenous Patients” and “Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Indigenous Communities”

11. Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis: “Overview of Current Research Projects in Indigenous Communities”

Summary of Rachel Asiniwasis’ presentations:

Common Skin Disorders & Diseases in Indigenous Communities

Indigenous Dermatology: Challenging Disorders and Diseases

Strategies to address such issues may include:

Overview of Current Research Projects in Indigenous Communities:

North American Indigenous skin disease research is currently being led out of Origins Dermatology Centre under Rachel Asiniwasis MD as the principal investigator and her team. Current projects include a systematic review, retrospective chart reviews, virtual care community-based participatory action oriented research projects, and national surveys. Our centre is now liasing with other Indigenous researchers with an ultimate goal of involving and empowering the communities in their own health care.

Listening to the Indigenous Patient: Experience in Northern and Remote Communities

Closing Remarks and Calls to Action:

Calls to Action may include: To “Close the Gap” in Canada on Indigenous health disparity and skin disease:



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