Health care is one of many under-resourced areas in Aboriginal communities in Canada. Aboriginal people have substandard health compared with the general population, yet have less access to health care services. Not only is there a paucity of Aboriginal doctors, but it also appears that few non-Aboriginal doctors are willing or able to work in Aboriginal contexts.
This study examines the attitudes of family medicine residents towards providing health care to Aboriginal patients. The goal of this study was to assess the willingness of family medicine residents to work in Aboriginal health care and to elucidate the major factors that inform these attitudes.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of an urban cohort of family medicine residents using a convenience sample. Our survey instrument consisted of a questionnaire comprising a mixture of open-ended and closed questions.
Although a majority (52%, n = 27) of the family medicine residents were willing to work in Aboriginal contexts, many felt underprepared to do so (40%, n = 21). Residents who have had some exposure to Aboriginal issues and have had community experiences are more likely to state an intention to work in Aboriginal settings.
The results of this study encourage the creation of educational experiences for medical residents that may promote a desire to work in Aboriginal communities.