Dr. Jaris Swidrovich visited the College of Pharmacy in January 2020 to share perspectives and insights from an Indigenous perspective.
Swidrovich is of Saulteaux and Ukrainian descent, the son of a ‘60s Scoop survivor and a grandson and great grandson of residential school survivors.
He is an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan, where he is also in his third year of a PhD focusing on decolonizing and Indigenizing pharmacy education.
Activities included an Indigenous working group, discussions with our curriculum committee, meetings with faculty members, consultations with our experiential education office and many other discussions capitalizing on his subject matter knowledge. Swidrovich also gave a lecture titled, “Indigenization of Pharmacy Education and Practice.”
Swidrovich said that pharmacists, as the most accessible health professionals, are well-positioned to rise up and respond to health inequities. While there have been increased efforts to integrate Indigenous knowledge into health care practice and policy, students in pharmacy are still indirectly, and sometimes directly, taught to devalue non-western medical approaches and medicines. Systematic racism delegitimizes Indigenous research and evidence, which impacts resource allocation and culturally appropriate care. “I see health and wellness as a table and every knowledge system has a chair around that table. They can all work together,” said Swidrovich.
He hopes that Indigenous knowledge and health care approaches will be further integrated into the pharmacy curriculum, and believes that legitimizing Indigenous health knowledge is a step toward reconciliation.