Edited by K. Bruce Newbold and Kathi Wilson
Chapter 9: Exploring the applicability of indigenous cultural safety to immigrant health research
Originating from Indigenous scholarship, cultural safety is a concept that recognizes the ways in which colonialization and structural oppression create power imbalances that perpetuate disparities in health outcomes. While cultural competence in research with immigrant groups is a worthwhile goal, it assumes a "one-size-fits-all" approach and cannot yield the solutions needed to safeguard the health of increasingly diverse populations. Cultural competence runs the risk of attributing poor health outcomes solely to culture, resulting in the objectification of immigrants based on appearance, language, country of origin, and religion. Through recognizing the intersections and impacts of social, political and cultural histories, researchers should explore the applicability of cultural safety to immigrant health research. This approach is timely given the surge of immigrant health research being conducted. At the same time, evidence-based research has predominantly been descriptive and therefore unable to inform strategies to improve health outcomes. Culturally safe research is crucial for enhancing community ownership of the research process. It has the potential to promote effective and meaningful pathways to self-determination. Through participation, partnership, protection, and power sharing, applying a cultural safety model may ensure the social value of research for immigrant communities.
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