Media Releases

Indigenous Health: Finding a Better Way

November 10, 2014

U of T conference examines how to deliver better healthcare to Indigenous Canadians – Nov. 20 & 21

TORONTO, ON – Canada’s Indigenous people suffer from very high rates of disease, injury and malnutrition. The University of Toronto is tackling problems like these with the first conference to educate doctors, nurses and other providers on how to better care for this population.

“It’s unacceptable to have a two-tiered system where indigenous people fall behind on every measure of health. It is a human rights issue,” said Prof. Anna Banerji, Director of Global and Indigenous Health at the Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Continuing Professional Development Office. “We’re going to take a frank look at the neglect of Indigenous people’s health. This is not just a conference – it’s a call to action.”

Sponsored by Continuing Professional Development at the Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine, the inaugural Indigenous Health Conference: Challenging Health Inequities will take place November 20 to 21, 2014 at the University of Toronto Conference Centre.

Attendees from across Canada will gather to hear from some of the nation’s most knowledgeable and dynamic speakers, including Justice Murray Sinclair, Michèle Audette, Dr. Evan Adams, Phil Fontaine, Dr. Michael Dan and Dr. Janet Smylie.

Recognizing that social challenges are a major determinant of health, speakers will address issues such as missing, murdered and trafficked women, the continuing effects of Indigenous genocide and the high suicide rates among teenagers in Nunavut. Conference participants will look for solutions to inequality in cancer care, explore telemedicine for remote communities, discuss Indigenous medical traditions and educate health workers on culturally safe care. Other themes include children’s health, mental health, chronic and infectious disease, and self-determination.

“I am thrilled to be participating in this inaugural event,” says Dr. Michael Dan, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, who has had a long history of working with First Nations people in Northern Ontario. “I applaud U of T’s commitment to Indigenous healthcare and to the organizers for developing a conference program by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people. The sheer wealth of information at this event will be unparalleled.”

Visit for an up-to-date speaker list and agenda.

About the Organizers

The University of Toronto’s Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Continuing Professional Development Office is a strategic partner in transforming healthcare in Ontario and beyond. Its mission is to improve the health of individuals and populations though the discovery, application and communication of knowledge. Dr. Anna Banerji is the Director of Global and Indigenous Health, Continuing Professional Development, University of Toronto.


For more information, contact:

Heidi Singer
Media Relations Specialist
Temerty Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Tel: 416-978-5811