Indigenous Health

Helping to improve the health and wellness of Indigenous populations and communities is a crucial priority for the UBC Department of Physical Therapy.

The department is committed to increasing the number and retention of Indigenous physical therapists in British Columbia. The Master of Physical Therapy program is working towards improving physical therapy capacity in underserved areas, including Indigenous communities. Our faculty, staff and learners are helping to build a health care system that is more inclusive, respectful, and equitable.

Indigenous Initiatives

The Department of Physical Therapy’s 2021 Strategic Plan highlights the Department’s commitment to actively align with the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP, 2020) and recognizes the department, Faculty of Medicine, and UBC’s commitments to responding to the Calls for Action stated in the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC).

Overall Objective:

To improve physical therapy capacity in underserved areas, including Indigenous communities, and in specialty areas of practice – 2021 Strategic Plan


Optimize admissions and recruitment strategies to admit students with an interest to serve in the public sector and under-served populations*.

*Under-served populations = include Indigenous, rural and newcomer students.


  • Recruit and admit students with an interest in serving the healthcare needs of all British Columbians, with a focus on applicants with an interest in public practice and under-served populations.
  • Develop and expand recruitment strategies (mentorship and relationship building) for systematically marginalized communities including Indigenous, rural and newcomer students.


  • An increase in the number of UBC graduates employed in rural & remote geographical areas and public practice settings.
  • Maintain or increase the diversity of students to match the profile of the BC population.

View Indigenous Applications


Ensure MPT curriculum meets the needs of all British Columbians, in particular under-resourced communities.


  • Engage with stakeholders to develop new content to better prepare graduates to work with patients from diverse areas and with complex needs in line with a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) lens.
  • Incorporate Indigenous health and traditional well-being concepts, anti-racism, anti-oppression and justice, equity, diversity, decolonization and inclusion content across the curriculum.
  • Provide capacity development opportunities for all staff and faculty in both:
    a) JEDI & cultural intelligence AND
    b) Indigenous Cultural Humility to strengthen capacity to provide inclusive services.


  1. Support clinical educators working in under-resourced areas and optimize learning opportunities for them.
  2. Educate students who graduate and serve the physical therapy health needs of all BC’s communities.


  • Support clinical educators working in under-resourced areas to become clinical faculty and contribute to instructional capacity, including/focusing on Indigenous faculty and educators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Optimize learning opportunities that expand learners’ experiences to underserved areas.
  • Ensure that all students experience clinical examples during lectures/labs that address underserved geographical areas as well as populations/ communities that expand beyond the urban setting.
  • Expand clinical experiences in diverse areas, including rural contexts.
  • Expand the distribution of the MPT program to sites in Fraser, the Okanagan, and the Island.


  • Increase opportunities for clinical faculty members from under-served areas to contribute to MPT teaching by >2 per year.
  • Increase positive feedback from students regarding the diversity of the learning environment and experience.


  1. Engage in partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and communities to further research in rehabilitation as identified through the partnership.
  2. Based on the partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and communities, highlight faculty who are doing research projects in Indigenous Health or underserved areas.


  • Develop partnerships with key stakeholders to better understand PT-related research needs for their communities.
  • Hold one slot of DPT Research Rounds per year for the presentation of research projects in Indigenous Health or underserved areas.


  • A number of projects involved Indigenous Partners where DPT faculty is PI, Co-I or collaborator.
  • A number of media citations for work by a faculty member in this area (i.e., feature on Department, FOM or UBC web or print media, as well as those of Research Institutes, as well as traditional media, namely radio, TV, newspaper, social media and web.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Position Statement

On behalf of the physiotherapy profession in British Columbia, the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia, the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia, and the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia are committed to supporting social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, to opposing and taking action to address racism, oppression, and discrimination, in health, health care, within our organizations and the physiotherapy profession.


decorative image

Indigenous Pathway Info Session

Date: October 31, 2022 @10:52 am November 23, 2022 – 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (PST) This info session is for Indigenous applicants (members of First Nations, Inuit, or Métis peoples in Canada). This event will provide a brief overview of the physical therapy profession, help navigate the application process, and meet Indigenous students and staff. We encourage participants to read […]

decorative image

September 2022 – Truth and Reconciliation Month

Date: September 27, 2022 @9:52 am On September 30th, Canada will hold its 2nd National Truth and Reconciliation day also known as Orange Shirt Day. This day commemorates the missing and murdered children from residential schools and honours the healing journey of residential school survivors. What were the residential schools? This 6-minute video provides a short timeline of these institutions, including […]

decorative image

JEDI News & Learning Opportunities – July 2022

Date: August 3, 2022 @10:18 am JEDI Working Group Launched and Early Activity  The Department of Physical Therapy’s newly formed JEDI Working Group officially got off the ground at the end of February, with members who’re passionately contributing their diversity of voices, experiences, identities and expertise from the UBC PT community across UBC-Vancouver, UNBC and beyond!    Since launching, the working […]

With gratitude, we acknowledge that the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine and its distributed programs, which include four university academic campuses, are located on traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of Indigenous nations throughout British Columbia.

We respectfully acknowledge that the UBC Department of Physical Therapy at the Vancouver-Point Grey academic campus is located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and UBC operations in Vancouver more generally are also on the territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh).

We respectfully acknowledge that the University of Northern BC Prince George campus is located on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh (Klate-lee Ten-eh), who are part of the Dakelh (Carrier) First Nations.

Students gratefully complete their placement requirements on Indigenous territories in Indigenous nations of Indigenous people throughout British Columbia.

Land Acknowledgement Resources