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Thesis Defence: Traditional Wellness Integration, Cultural Safety and Indigenization Strategies for Health and Wellness Services

April 5 at 2:45 pm - 6:45 pm

Saige Werstuik will defend their thesis.

Saige Werstuik, supervised by Dr. Laura Struik, will defend their thesis titled “Traditional Wellness Integration, Cultural Safety and Indigenization Strategies for Health and Wellness Services” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – Community Engagement, Social Change, & Equity theme.

An abstract for Saige Werstuik’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. This examination will be offered in hybrid format.

  • Registration is not required for in-person defences. Please email laura.struik@ubc.ca to receive the Zoom link for this defence.
  • In-person: Landmark 4, Room 638


This Master’s thesis aims to determine factors that influence successful traditional wellness integration in health programming, and addresses ways to strengthen Indigenous peoples access to traditional wellness practices within the current healthcare system. According to recent data, Indigenous populations are less likely to receive adequate health care due to providers’ lack of cultural safety and awareness. Integrating traditional wellness practices within healthcare not only ensures cultural safety but also eliminates these existing inadequacies. The thesis will address this issue by addressing the research question: What are the factors that influence appropriate and Indigenized integration of traditional wellness in a culturally safe way? In addition, the objectives include 1) identifying barriers to successful integration that traditional wellness practitioners and Indigenous peoples face, 2) gathering lived experiences that highlight the strengths of current integration strategies, and 3) leveraging local Indigenous knowledges to ensure cultural safety and enhance integration for traditional wellness. The research outlined in this thesis has used an Indigenous methodology as guided by Enowkinwixw principles as an analogy to ensure Indigenized methods, such as community engagement, story work, and sharing circles. The aim of this research is to contribute to fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Call to Action #22 and Article 24 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The thesis achieved these goals by outlining culturally safe and accessible traditional wellness integration strategies which have been developed for, by, and with a local Indigenous community. These findings will contribute to ensuring the continued and successful integration of traditional wellness practitioners into health and wellness programs.


April 5
2:45 pm - 6:45 pm
1628 Dickson Ave
Kelowna, BC V1Y 9X1 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Landmark 4, Room 638
Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Culture and Diversity, Health, Indigenous, Lifestyle and Wellness, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates