As a future doctor of chiropractic, I feel as though it is essential to have the appropriate training in cultural awareness and sensitivity in order to be well equipped for every encounter I will experience throughout my career. Not only will this benefit me, it will also help build trusting relationships with patients. This summary then, will focus on a cultural group and their cultural demographics and determinants. With this, I will also discuss a practice motto I am very fond of, which has significantly benefited the cultural group I have chosen. Furthermore, I will be discussing how my gender will impact my career as a chiropractor, and the balance I wish to achieve among other aspects of life. Finally, I will discuss the important of being well educated and inclusive of everyone’s gender and sexual orientation in practice.
The group I will be focusing on in this summary of cultural competency and diversity is the Anishnawbe population, who are a group of Indigenous people in Canada. Currently, the aboriginal population is growing twice as fast as the rest of the Canadian population, and they make up approximately 3.8% of the Canadian population (1). Most of the indigenous population reside in urban areas, and their mean age is 27, which is significantly younger than the rest of the Canadian population who’s a mean age is 40 (1). The Anishnawbe people believe in their tradition of natural healing, with Elders and Medicine people (1). As such, they have maintained their culture through their efforts of collectivism, and long-term goal orientation (2). The Anishnawbe people strongly believe that healing and teaching are synonymous; traditional healing has its root in ceremonies that focus on the spirit, and balance from within.
As a member of the Anishnawbe community, I am very fond of the mission and vision that the Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) clinic has instilled in its practice, combining traditional healing with Western medicine to support their multi-disciplinary clinic (3). Their services are tailored to health issues suffered by this culture, which include Type 2 diabetes education, addiction and mental health services, chiropractic and community ceremonies (3). Along with this, AHT has adopted a cultural safety motto within the clinic, which I wish to take with me throughout my career as a chiropractor.
As a female in the chiropractic profession, there are many things I need to consider and accept before I embark on my career. To begin, chiropractic is a physically demanding profession that requires optimal health and biomechanical use of the human body (4). With this considered, it is essential to weight the risk of being injured at work (4). In the 2006 study done by Bisiacchi and Huber, it was found that female chiropractic students suffered from wrist and shoulder injuries more frequently then males, and that the most common injury to the female population was low back injuries (4). Even though this study points to females as being injured more frequently than men, it is important to consider that their subject pool was in fact a student body, and perhaps this is not a good representation of the working population in practice, as these students have yet to master their own body mechanics while performing the adjustments (4).
Another aspect of my personal experience with chiropractic in the future will be the balance I wish to achieve between family and work (5). In the 2010 study done by Budderberg-Fischer et al., they found that women in the health care field had achieved less in the 7 years after graduation compared to men (5). Despite these findings, women felt more satisfied with the life as a whole (5). I strive to attain just this, a balance between my career and family, while still having meaningful relationships and satisfaction at work.
Lastly, another essential topic to cover and adopt in everyday practice is how to know and appropriately acknowledge people’s gender and sexual orientations (6). This is needed in order to be well rounded, easy to relate to, and to build patient trust (6). After reading through the learning module and short power point on LGBTQ, it is evident that all professionals and staff need to be well trained in order to fully accept of all communities, and maintain a proper code of conduct, as well as confidentiality (6).
In conclusion, exploring cultural competencies and diversity will prove to be very beneficial as I move forward with my studies and education. I hope to take with me everything I have learned about cultural sensitivity and awareness, and to further develop these ideals in order to approach every colleague and patient with the respect and care they require and deserve.