Indigenous doctors from throughout the Pacific are currently meeting during the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) at Whistler, Canada home to the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations. Born from the vision of a forum for mutual support and for the sharing of resources and expertise delegates are coming together to learn and teach one another.
Underlying factors behind indigenous consistently poor health are discussed, success stories are shared in which e.g. culture is described as a societal anxiety buffer and mechanism to handle stress.
What is emphasized throughout the sessions is the clear message that health is key to indigenous survival. Mainstream health services do not recognize the impacts of colonization and ongoing racism on indigenous health. Nor do they provide culturally appropriate care. A Canadian health worker comments: “What is urgently needed are much more indigenous doctors- not doctors who happen to be indigenous.”