• “Message from the Indigenous Health Lead”

    - Bernice Downey

The past two years have been very busy in my role as the Indigenous Health Lead here in the Faculty of Health Science. As the Faculty leadership endeavoured to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, it became clear that a fulsome, strategic approach was needed and this was the beginning of the Indigenous Health Initiative (IHI).

The first year has mainly been about establishing relationships. Outreach to local Indigenous communities and organizational stakeholders has yielded a very inclusive process with active participation in all aspects of the planning process. In addition to our external collaborators, numerous Faculty administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are actively engaged in the IHI.

This second year has been about identifying priorities and shaping the strategic plan. This is being done through the work of six Working Groups whose mandate is to identify priorities within six key areas: curriculum development, faculty support, research, student support, sustainability & policy and inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing.

We are very encouraged by the show of support and active participation and leadership across the Faculty. Numerous individuals have demonstrated their commitment to this important work in a way that is keeping with the notion of cultural humility. Many have completed the self-reflexive cultural safety training that has been coordinated. Some are reaching out to local Indigenous community collaborators as they engage in their own process of change.

As we move forward to finalize the Strategic Plan this year and engage in an implementation process, the support and collaboration with both internal and external partners will be critical to our shared success. Chi- Miigwetch! (Thank-you!)