Practicum in Aboriginal Health

Practicum Overview

Aboriginal Health majors are required to complete a full-time, 13-week practicum placement as credit toward their degree.  To be eligible for practicum students must meet the prerequisite requirements (see ABHL 4350 – Practicum in Aboriginal Health, U of L Course Catalogue).

Students will be under the direction of a qualified preceptor (or a team) in a rural or urban setting providing health services for Indigenous peoples, with the support of a faculty advisor. Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with Indigenous people, groups, organizations, or a community to address selected health issues. The practicum is a unique opportunity for students to integrate and apply skills and knowledge gained through coursework in a real-world setting.

Practicum students will complete a Special Service Project focused on one health issue in a particular setting. To be successful on placement, students must meet all course learning objectives, complete all course assignments, and demonstrate progress in the development of core competencies for Aboriginal Health. 

Preparations for Practicum Placement

Students are encouraged to contact the Internship Specialist 1 year prior to a practicum placement to begin planning, as there is a hard deadline to confirm intention for placement and placement application submitted no later than 6 months prior to a practicum.  It is recommended that students reach out in the final semester of their 3rd year of the program.

All Aboriginal Health degree students registered in ABHL 4350 are required to meet and maintain certain requirements to participate in a practicum placement during the program. Students may be excluded from a practicum placement if all requirements are not met or maintained.  This includes documentation requirements.  For a full detail of the documentation requirements please review the Student Handbook.

Practicum Placement Experiences

The practicum placement is driven by students interests and which Aboriginal Health Core Competencies students want to focus on and develop over the practicum.  Depending on their interests, students could complete their placements at a variety of agencies which could include large or small health organizations, community-based agencies, governments, non-profit organizations, etc.  While on placement, students can be exposed to or experience a variety or roles such as:

  • Indigenous Wellness Coordination,
  • Health Promotion/Facilitation,
  • Community or Social Development,
  • Community Outreach,
  • Indigenous Relations,
  • Maternal Indigenous Health,

and others!

Special Service Project Overview

Students are expected to consult with their Preceptor (and a manager if applicable) as well as the Faculty Liaison before the start of their practicum to identify an Aboriginal health issue and a potential Special Service Project for the Agency. This may include (but is not limited to) the following types of deliverables:

  • Contribution to an existing project through identification of strategies to support or adapt culturally safe practice and resources (e.g., cultural adaptations for an existing program, or culturally adapted resources)
  • Contribution to a community consultation with scholarly references (e.g., participate in the identification of community issues with Elders, community members, agencies and partners).
  • Literature review on an agency-identified or community-identified issue (e.g., an annotated bibliography based on scholarly articles and grey literature)
  • Review and summary of best practices and current practice to support reconciliation per the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015).
  • Contribution to the development of a proposal/grant including scholarly references
  • Presentation, a resource or a display at a community event, or for agency staff (e.g., addressing an Aboriginal Health issue – including both scholarly references and Indigenous perspectives/knowledge) Contribution to a collaborative community development project
  • Contribution to development of a project funding proposal with community partners
  • Compilation of resources to support Aboriginal health, healing or reconciliation for a population/group
  • Contribution to an evaluation of an Aboriginal health project or community-based program including Indigenous people
  • Contribution to data analysis and development of a summary of descriptive results (e.g., as a contribution to an agency report)

The Aboriginal Health practicum course is an exciting experience for students. Please reach out to the Internship Specialist if you have any questions or concerns.

More information can also be found in the Student Handbook.


Please note aboriginal health students are eligible for paid or unpaid placements, this varies agency to agency.  It is a requirement of certain governmental agencies like Indigenous Services Canada, or Public Health Agency of Canada to offer paid placements for students.  These government agencies follow the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Directive on Student Employment which provides the requirements for student employment within government agencies.  Please connect with the Internship Specialist for more information on applying for potential placement.