The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada (PFC) are proud to announce the establishment of the Indigenous Student Award for physiotherapy education.
Aboriginal peoples in Canada face unique health challenges and have poorer health outcomes than non-Aboriginal persons. Although the Indigenous population is on average younger than the general population, there is a higher prevalence of injury, illness and chronic disease.
The physiotherapy profession acknowledges the influence of the broader determinants of health on Indigenous peoples in Canada at both the individual and population level, from socioeconomic status and migration to urban centres to the longer term impact of colonization and self-determination. These well-documented health inequities have long been associated with poorer health outcomes.
Physiotherapists are health care professionals who have the skills to collaborate with clients, other health care providers and funders to deliver services based on the unique, specific needs identified by Indigenous communities. The physiotherapy profession’s focus on lifestyle modifications and exercise prescription is consistent with the promotion of health and wellness. Physiotherapy interventions maintain or improve function, mobility, independence, and quality of life. Early treatment by physiotherapists results in better health outcomes for patients and is a cost-effective, efficient use of health human resources.
The Indigenous Student Award is an educational grant open to all Canadian Indigenous students (First Nations status or non-status, Inuit, or Métis) enrolled in an accredited Canadian post-secondary physiotherapy program. Eligible programs include accredited diploma programs and graduate degrees of at least two academic years. Through this award, the CPA hopes to help address the significant gaps that exist between the health status of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and that of other Canadians, as well as the unmet rehabilitation and mobility needs in rural, remote and northern communities in Canada.