Health Care Communications in the Aboriginal Community: Community as Teacher Program





We have partnered with Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society (Xyolhemeylh) since 2006 to offer a unique interprofessional community-led educational experience for health professional students at UBC. The award winning program was developed to improve health care through culturally relevant community-based initiatives for health professionals to learn about culturally appropriate care. Health professional students participate in three or four day cultural camps that aim to strengthen communication and trust between Aboriginal patients and their future health care providers. 


Camps are led and organized by community elders, family intervention workers, and youth leaders.  On- and off-reserve children and teenagers are gathered into a secluded and peaceful environment where they can reconnect with their rich history and culture. UBC students from various health professions have an opportunity to experience Aboriginal culture and get to know members of the community. They are seen as good role models and sources of information for the youth. They provide health related workshops (topics chosen by the community) in exchange for their learning experience. Common topics include: sexual health, drug use, mental health & self-harm, nutrition, doctors' roles and responsibilities (e.g. confidentiality) and how to become a doctor, social worker, nurse, etc.


Lead Program CoordinatorsCathy Kline, Research Coordinator (2004-present); Lamaih Adamjee, Research & Development Assistant (summer 2018 Work Learn student)


Past Coordinators and Collaborators: Tobi Reid (2017) William Liem (2016) Work Learn student, Gabby John (2015) Work Learn Student, Christopher Mill, (2014) Work Learn Student; Jordan Hermiston, (2013) Work Learn student; Manjeet Birk (2012) Work Learn student; Ellison Richmond, Research Assistant (2010-2011); Nataliya Karpenko, Research Coordinator (2009-2010); Mallory Quinn, Student Research Assistant (2010); Ashley Porter, Student Research Assistant (2009); Gagun Chhina, Research Assistant (2008); Gina Scarpino, Research Assistant (2004-2007); Christine Sorial, Student Research Assistant (2006-2007); Melissa Niemeyer, Student Research Assistant (2004-2006)


Our Community Partner: Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society (Xyolhemeylh), Stó:lō Nation




Kline C, Godolphin W, Chhina G, Towle A. (2013). Community as teacher model: Health Profession students learn Cultural Safety from an Aboriginal community. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 20(1): 5-17.




Winner of a J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Community Service-Learning Award 2012





2015-16 Summary Report


2014-15 Summary Report


2013-14 Summary Report


2012-13 Summary Report


2010-11 Summary Report 




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Click to watch: 'Community as Teacher' Video





The PCPE has received support from the following sponsors: UBC Faculty of Medicine Special Populations Allocation Focus (2001-2013)