Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Regina Idoate

Second Committee Member

Shannon Maloney

Third Committee Member

Aislinn Rookwood


Objective/Aim: To review the literature on workforce development to increase Indigenous birth workers to improve birth outcomes in Indigenous populations.

Design: A systematic scoping review.

Data Sources: The following databases were accessed: PubMED, Embase, and CINAHL. Support relating to key words and appropriate databases was provided by a university librarian.

Review Methods: Search terms across databases were sourced identifying a total of 152 papers. Title/abstract searches were screened against the inclusion/exclusion criteria, resulting in 55 papers reaching full-text review. Of the 55 papers reviewed, 26 were eligible for inclusion in the final review.

Results/Findings: Thematic review of 26 articles lead to a number of domains or common ideas: Cultural Safety, Empathy, Culturally Sensitive, Cultural Competency, and Spirituality. These identified domains were grouped into three overall key strategic themes: 1) Education & Mentoring, 2) Connectedness & Spirituality, and 3) Families & Communities. Training and education should be available to all birth workers, particularly those in rural and remote areas. Mentoring is a successful strategy to support the workforce in building resilience, empowering change, and strengthening methodologies to reduce health inequalities. A culturally sensitive birth worker must help birthing people heal, especially those who have suffered historical trauma and lost their spiritual connection to their birthing practices and heritage.

Discussion: Designing a culturally sensitive training manual that works across varying education levels should be a priority. Beyond what the birthing person needs, the community's needs must also be recognized. With a lack of health service centers in easy reach for many Indigenous birthing people, urban health centers need to welcome the community in, allow for local beliefs, surround the birthing person by their family to be supported during the birthing process.

Conclusions: This scoping literature review provides evidence that several vital strategies can be used to increase the number of trained Indigenous birth workers to improve birth outcomes in Indigenous populations. While this topic is gaining attention, more research is needed, specifically focusing on evaluations of training programs for birth workers and if they lead to changes in birth outcomes in Indigenous populations.

Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025