COVID-19 and Global Indigenous Health Inequity: A Holistic Life Cycles Approach to Systems Change

Our Canadian Science Policy Panel Takeaways & Actions

Moderator: Shelley Wiart, Founder, Women Warriors.

Speakers: Jennifer Leason, Canada Research Chair, University of Calgary; Michael Lickers, Indigenous Scholar in Residence — School of Leadership, Royal Roads University; Carrie Bourassa, Director of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Lillian Dyck, Retired Senator, Senate of Canada.

Context: The panel explored the theme of global health in a pandemic by addressing the multifaceted health inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples. Each scholar addressed the health inequity experienced by Indigenous peoples in the spectrum of their life cycle from childhood to Elders. The goal was to amplify Indigenous academic voices at the conference to counter Western scientific and colonial deficit views of how to “help” Indigenous peoples cure their poor health with Western medicine.


  1. Indigenous women are less likely to seek health care because of fear of racism, birth alerts and child apprehension, putting them at greater risk for poorer health outcomes.


  1. Create culturally safe spaces for Indigenous women seeking maternal health services by pushing for policy changes. Organizations doing this include the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

Interview with Dr. Jennifer Leason

Jennifer Leason, Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary and CRC-Indigenous Maternal Child Wellness, interviewed by CSPC team member, Sumedha Sachar.

Please sign up for the Women Warriors newsletter to learn more about Indigenous women’s holistic health.

Shelley Wiart, B.A. (Hons) is a member of the North Slave Métis Alliance, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Indigenous health research. Mother. Writer. Runner

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