Increasing Indigenous Participation in the Physician Workforce

Lay Summary 

Across Canada, there has been a call to increase the number of Indigenous health professionals. In response, post-secondary institutions across the country have launched programs to encourage Indigenous youth to pursue careers in health professions. Since 2008, Memorial University's Faculty of Medicine has offered the Aboriginal Health Initiative; one of its goals is to recruit more Indigenous students into Memorial's medical program. How successful are program like the Aboriginal Health Initiative? While the number of Indigenous trainees may appear to be the most relevant outcome, the program may have important impacts on participants, including on those who choose or are not able to become physicians.


The purpose of this project is to develop an evaluation framework that includes community and participant-relevant outcomes. Using a two-eyed seeing approach we will create an evaluation framework by reviewing existing evaluations of programs in Canadian medical schools, reviewing of the literature, and consulting stakeholders including Indigenous community partners, program participants, medical trainees, and program organizers. We will then use the framework to evaluate Memorial University's Aboriginal Health Initiative program. The project addresses priorities identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other recent national inquiries into the wellbeing of Indigenous people in Canada. The project will create a framework that can guide evaluations of programs designed to increase Indigenous participation in the physician workforce and other health professions. Finally, it responds to the call for social accountability from Canada's medical schools. 


Adapted from

Community Health and Humanities
Canadian Institutes Of Health Research
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Health Services
Aboriginal Peoples
Medical Education
Industry Sectors 
Health Care and Social Assistance
Start date 
1 Apr 2019
End date 
31 Mar 2020
Lead Organization 
Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University