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Healthcare research project seeking diverse voices

An upcoming forum regarding healthcare needs is seeking cultural input from Moose Jaw's newcomer community
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Lindsey Boechler, research chair at Sask Polytech in the School of Health Sciences, is reaching out to the multicultural community to give their voices and experiences in the health-care system a platform.

In an open forum on Aug. 29, from 7-8 p.m. upstairs at the Public Library, Boechler hopes to hear both concerns and positive experiences from the many diverse cultural perspectives in the community about medical care. 

“Patients' opinions, their values and preferences, they do matter. . . and when we can take that into account and include cultural competency or safety in our care, research does show that it will enhance health outcomes,” said Boechler.  

Boechler plans to use this feedback to formulate a research initiative that will broaden the cultural inclusivity of health care practices. Her goal is to engage different newcomer communities with their own health care to better fit their cultural and religious needs. 

“Across Canada we're getting more and more diverse population, so there's a lot more people moving here that have different cultural backgrounds,” said Boechler. “I worked here as a paramedic and I know I had a patient and just due to some religious beliefs, the family wanted certain things done in the truck. . . “[so I want to know] how can we account for the diverse religious beliefs or cultural beliefs while we're providing care as practitioners?”

To begin, Boechler needs to know what types of needs aren’t currently being addressed, as well as what health care professionals are doing well. From that feedback, she will conduct a research project to identify what solutions can be found through changes in policy.

From there, Boechler will work with the health region to implement changes to health-care practices, policies, and even training curriculums as soon as one to three years from now. 

“The end goal of this project is to find a way to provide equity in the care that we provide across all people,” said Boechler.” I know everyone gets really turned off by the word research, but I love this type because it's being out in the community and seeing the change before your eyes as you're doing it.”

Before she can get started, however, she needs to hear from the community. Alongside the public discussion on Aug. 29, people who are unable to attend but would like to talk can also reach out to Boechler at Lindsey.Boechler@saskpolytech.ca or at 1 (306) 531-6514. 

“I'm just trying to gain perspective from the diverse experiences of individuals across our community,” said Boechler. “I feel very privileged that people are willing to come out and tell me their feelings and kind of the barriers they face, and I really hope that I can make a difference with it.”