Research Spotlight: Seeking Culturally Appropriate Interventions to Improve Indigenous Health
Research Spotlight: Dr. Gary Groot, Surgical Oncologist
By Farha Akhtar
It started with a simple conversation: an Indigenous cancer patient shared their personal story with Dr. Gary Groot about attempting to navigate the province’s often complex cancer care system. He listened as they described coping with the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, and confronting historical, systemic and racial barriers while attempting to access treatment.
Listening to this patient’s story, it became obvious to Dr. Groot, a Surgical Oncologist and Associate Professor, that he needed to explore ways to improve Indigenous health as an extension of his work leading Quality Improvement and Appropriateness of Care efforts in the province.
Dr. Groot seeks to understand how to adapt health services delivery in a way that is truly authentic, meaningful and relevant for Indigenous peoples. Much of his Indigenous health research is grounded in realist philosophy. His research projects are community-based and often conceptualized with Indigenous partners including Elders, Indigenous health system representatives, and patients. Dr. Groot utilizes his clinical lens to enhance our understanding of how to increase patient-practitioner trust and align Indigenous world view within the medical consultation process.
Dr. Groot’s work has succeeded in bringing international attention to the University of Saskatchewan earning him the position of being a leading researcher in Realist Indigenous research. This has been recognized at a national level when he was appointed to the position of Equity Chair for the Canadian Partnership against Cancer last fall. This year, he was the recipient of both a SHRF SPROUT Grant and SHRF Collaborative Innovation Development Grant. His research projects include a pilot that will study Indigenous Patient Navigators as a support for cancer patients as well as a provincial assessment of the exact health priorities as identified by Indigenous patients.
Learn more about the 2017 CIHR’s Pathways Annual Gathering here.