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BC’s doctors support healthy conversations about medication use in First Nations communities

July 17, 2018

Maintaining good health when taking multiple medications. This was the theme of an Indigenous storytelling project - ‘Coyote’s Food Medicines’ -  that launched July 11th in front of more than 3,000 First Nations Elders in Duncan, BC.  

In describing the challenges around medication use in First Nations communities, one of the Secwepemc Elders said: “In the past, our Elders didn’t take lots of medication, mostly just aspirin. But now, cupboards look like pharmacy shelves.” 


To help address this challenge, the Coyote’s Food Medicines project promotes healthy conversations between patients and providers – such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists – in an effort to prevent side effects and adverse events, such as falls and injuries, for those taking multiple medications – known as polypharmacy.  

The traditional Indigenous story emerged following many conversations with Secwepemc Elders. It features Coyote, a trickster character in the Secwepemc Nation, and other animal characters who share their knowledge and wisdom, and in this case, encourage conversations about managing medications for a healthy life.  

The project was a partnership of:

  • Shared Care Committee (Polypharmacy Risk Reduction Committee) – a partnership of Doctors of BC and the BC Government.
  • Elders from the Secwepemc First Nations.
  • First Nations Health Authority, and 
  • Interior Health.


Doctors of BC is pleased to have been one of the partners supporting the project. “It shows how respecting culture and involving communities can improve health,” said Dr Cadesky, president of Doctors of BC. “It is a good example for all health care professionals to do what we can to provide safe environments for these conversations to take place.” 


Read more here.