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Public health should be part of Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women inquiry

Public health should be involved in Canada’s national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, because many factors underlying family and interpersonal violence are linked to mental health issues, substance abuse, low income and other public health issues, urges an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

“It’s clear that a common web — woven of a legacy of colonization and cultural genocide, and a cumulative history of societal neglect, discrimination and injustice — underlies both endemic interpersonal violence and health disparities in Canada’s indigenous populations,” states Dr. Kirsten Patrick, deputy editor, CMAJ. “There is no conversation to be had about one without a conversation about the other — if the aim is healing — because the root causes are the same.”

With the public health sector actively trying to address disparities in social disparities of health in many parts of the country, it can also make an important contribution in the upcoming inquiry.

“We are presented with not just an opportunity for renewing trust between indigenous communities and the Government of Canada but also for extending the roles of public health and the health care sector in the facilitation of health and healing,” concludes Dr. Patrick.