Past to Present—Generational Trauma’s Effect on Indigenous Communities Who are Reliant on Western Healthcare

  • Durga Sritharan (Iowa State University)
  • Bennett O'Hare (Iowa State University)


Racism in the healthcare system has caused generational trauma in Indigenous communities. Generational trauma is passed down from those who directly experience an incident to subsequent generations who continue to experience the impact and effects of that harm. This has led to a disconnect between Indigenous patients and healthcare providers, in part, due to a lack of trust. As a result, the effects of generational trauma resulting from mistrust in a Western health care system has led to an increase in health disparities between Indigenous and non- Indigenous communities. Health disparities are preventable differences in burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health. Sadly, Indigenous communities are shown to have some of the highest rates of medical disparities including, but not limited to, lower life expectancy and higher instances of infant mortality. Racism and prejudice are contributing factors, as is mistrust stemming from physicians' lack of cultural awareness. This session will focus on the effects of generational trauma in the healthcare system and the harmful impact on Indigenous communities reliant on the Western healthcare system.



Published on
04 Mar 2022