Indigenous Peoples and Genomics: Starting a Conversation

The project is called Indigenous Peoples and Genomics: Starting a Conversation

We are in a partnership between researchers from the Indigenous Health Program at BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital and from UBC’s Department of Medical Genetics.  Our goal is to address a gap in healthcare for Indigenous peoples.


The goal of our project is to initiate preliminary  conversations with individuals of Indigenous ancestries to raise awareness and to determine their perspectives, values, and concerns about a medical test called genomic sequencing. It is a relatively new and powerful test to diagnose conditions and sometimes aid in their treatment.

To obtain the most accurate results from genomic sequencing, geneticists need to be able to compare a patient’s results to those of healthy individuals of the same ethnicity. But many groups, including Indigenous Peoples, are under-represented in the current databases. This means that interpreting the results for Indigenous Peoples can be challenging.

Our project holds sharing circles with Indigenous Peoples to try to explain the current situation in regards to the test, and to find out what people’s thoughts and concerns are about the test, databases, potential barriers and potential solutions.

At The Learning Circle we will talk in more detail about the project, including the philosophy of community-based participatory research, embedding culturally safe practices of research with Indigenous populations, and where collaboration with study participants helps provide validity to the project’s results.

Everyone welcome to participate:

Healthcare workers, students, staff, community!

Date: Tuesday, October 17,  2017
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30am (PST)
Place: Internet webinar or Videoconference.
……….View system requirements.
Registration: required to participate

About the presenters:

Patricia Birch,
 Co-Lead on this project, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia – Is a researcher, educator, manager, and nurse. The common threads throughout her career have been a desire to improve access, equity, and quality of family-centred clinical care. Her current interests include decisional science, particularly shared decision-making in genetic counselling, and family-oriented care in genomics medicine.





Jenny Morgan, Co-Lead on this project, MSW, RSW (Gitxsan First Nation) is the Director for Indigenous Health at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. She completed her masters in social work with an Indigenous specialization at the University of Victoria, her BSW at UBC, and is currently enrolled in the doctorate of education through Western University (UWO), studying organizational leadership and retention of Indigenous workers in health care. Jenny is a sessional instructor in the UBC School of Social Work and is on the Board of Directors with the BC College of Social Workers.



Reading Material?


We will be holding a sharing circle at UBC after the Learning Circle (date t.b.a.) and will provide information about participating in this event at the following link:


.** There will be no certificates for the participants of this session**



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