Study Objective: To explore the perceptions of Aboriginal consumers and Primary Health Care (PHC) providers on the effectiveness of cultural awareness training in delivering culturally appropriate PHC services to Aboriginal people.
Methodology: A total of 24 Aboriginal community members, PHC providers, front desk staff, managers and board members provided their views on the effectiveness of cultural awareness training. Inductive thematic analysis was used to explore themes related to strength and limitations of current cultural awareness training and suggestions for improvement.
Results: The themes related to the strength of cultural awareness training were identified as: “Supports culturally appropriate interaction” and “Provides historical perspective and health information.” The main themes related to the limitations of cultural awareness training were: “Generalized and superficial content,” “Developed and delivered by non-Aboriginal people” and “Short duration without prospective evaluation.” The themes identified as potential improvement strategies were: “Community specific cultural training”, and “Need for multiple training with different facilitators.”
Discussion: Although cultural awareness training is considered useful in providing cultural knowledge about Aboriginal population (1). Nonetheless, our results suggest that current cultural awareness training should be refined and developed considering the cultural needs of local community. The short duration of training and limited involvement of local Aboriginal people in the development and dissemination of training were perceived as significant limitations of the existing cultural awareness training (2,3). It should be considered that just attending one session is unlikely to result in culturally safe practice since cultural competence may be present in theory without significant influence on actual practice (4). Therefore, multiple training session should be conducted with regular prospective evaluations to assess whether preliminary changes in behavior or practice are sustained.
Conclusion: Current cultural awareness training assists PHC providers in delivering culturally appropriate service to Aboriginal Consumers. However, the training content and delivery methods need some refinement to make these training more efficient. Utilizing input from health care practitioner, Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW), and local community leaders in developing and improving cultural awareness training will help in enhancing the impact of these training.