New Regional Health Centre set to begin Construction in Rankin

January 13, 2009

Construction set to begin this year on Batchewana First Nation’s Regional Health Centre

Batchewana has taken another step towards achieving its objective of becoming an independent, strong, sovereign Nation with the recent signing of the $1.5 million-dollar agreement between Health Canada and BFN for the construction of a new $3.5 million-dollar innovative Regional Health Centre. “The end result that we see today is a product of a few years of tireless efforts on the part of the Chief, the Director of Human Services Laura Robinson and the Health Portfolio holder, Stan McCoy, who really worked dilligently to see this project come to fruition,” said Chief Dean Sayers.The new 15,000 sq. ft. Regional Health Centre is being constructed adjacent to the Elder’s Complex on Gran St., in Rankin and will house Batchewana First Nation Community Health Nursing, Mental Health Workers, Substance Abuse Counseling, Community Health Representative, Home and Community Care, Healthy Babies/Healthy Children, the NIHB program and visiting professionals will include Dr. Quon, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Dietician, Psychologist, Youth Mental Health Counselor and a Medicine Man from Minnesota.

“The innovative centre will have tremendous value for not only Batchewana First Nation members, but also for the regional First Nation and mainstream populations,” said Chief Sayers. “Part of the idea behind the Regional Health Centre is to look at research opportunities that can have direct impacts on the plight of First Nation people in the region.”

Partnerships between BFN Regional Health Centre, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Nog-da-win-da-min Child and Family Services and the North Shore Tribal Council will help achieve these objectives. “We believe that we are going to be able to address that and the partners we’ve established in this innovative Health Centre are working towards the common goal of creating a balanced and prosperous population,” said Chief Sayers.

The architectural concept of the facility was designed by EPOH Inc. Architects and Consulting Engineers after extensive consultations and teachings from BFN, including recognition and drawing on the knowledge of the Ancestors who have passed into the Spirit World.

“The facility itself is designed based on Batchewana’s unique relationship with our original territories and there are elements of those things that are dear to our culture and our people. It’s the essence of those types of teachings that still linger within our elderly population that have been embraced throughout the entire design, construction and programming opportunities that we see within this facility,” said Chief Sayers. “For example, there are traces of copper throughout the structure and elements of water incorporated into an architectural style which is reminiscent of our historical style of facility – Ojibway lodges. This new facility will truly embrace the holistic model and provide the framework for more types of programs and services to evolve that will ultimately have an overall positive effect on the quality of life for First Nations people.”

Staff at the Health Centre, which is attached to BFN administration offices, are extremely excited and anticipating the move, said Laura Robinson Director of Human Services.

“More space is certainly going to make a huge difference with our staff and our clients,” said Robinson. One of the main issues currently facing the Health Care staff is lack of space, as people are sharing cramped offices and visiting professionals have little or no room to see clients.

“With the new building it means a lot more confidentiality and privacy. We’re also looking forward to working with our new partners who will be sharing the building with us,” said Robinson. Along with the delivery of services, research and education are going to be key components within the new facility, which are made possible through the Aboriginal Health Integration Committee and the partnerships with the Ontario School of Medicine, Nog-da-win-da-min Child and Family Services and the North Shore Tribal Council. However, the committee also plans to eventually include the participation of other agencies in the area.

“The Northern Ontario School of Medicine will be an integral participant of the Aboriginal Health Integration Committee and play a lead role in Aboriginal-led research,” said Robinson. “Research ventures will be inclusive of surrounding First Nations, including those residing in urban areas, through advisory circles to ensure regional input. Through this collaborative relationship, future research projects will include the effective incorporation of traditional First Nation health and Western medical practices.”

Construction on the new Regional Health Centre is slated to begin this spring with the completion date of summer 2010.

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