CMA Foundation donates $1 million to IPAC: Mentoring of Indigenous medical students and residents planned

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The CMA Foundation is pleased to announce a grant of $1 million to the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) to support a national formalized mentorship program for Indigenous medical learners and to enable capacity building within the organization.

“IPAC has existed, in various forms, for over 30 years and our overarching goal has always been to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit medical students, residents and physicians in whatever career path they choose,” says Dr. Nel Wieman, IPAC president. “IPAC as an organization has sometimes struggled with sustainability. This funding opportunity will bolster IPAC's capacity as a national medical organization, allowing us to better respond to the needs of our membership and to more equitably work with our national medical partners.”

“COVID-19 combined with the ongoing inter-generational trauma and systemic racism experienced by Indigenous medical students and residents has amplified the urgent need for the trusted leadership and support services provided by IPAC,” says Allison Seymour, CMA Foundation president. “IPAC has the credibility and experience to lead and advance this important initiative in support of Indigenous physicians and medical learners.”

The CMA Foundation grant will support the sustainability and longevity of IPAC and the development of a national mentorship program to expand the current ecosystem of Indigenous medical learners and physicians across Canada. The program will identify and support emerging leaders by linking Indigenous medical learners to a mentor who can provide guidance, training, advice and growth opportunities.

"As Indigenous Peoples, learning from our Elders and Knowledge Keepers is part of our culture. Mentorship encourages mutual respect and strengthens Indigenous ways. I look forward to working with IPAC as they develop their nation-wide mentorship program in support of Indigenous medical learners and early career physicians," says Syexwalia, Knowledge Keeper and Elder from Squamish Nation.

This funding aligns with goals identified in Impact 2040, the CMA’s new strategy, to support health and the health workforce, and specifically to work in allyship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to support the development of an impactful action plan to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples.