TBRHSC strengthens its commitment to achieving excellence in Aboriginal Health

(Monday, April 22, 2013 – Thunder Bay, ON) Today, officials formally introduced individuals working to advance Aboriginal Health at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

TBRHSC’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee is comprised of 25 members, which includes representatives of Aboriginal organizations in Northwestern Ontario, patient and family advisors and leaders from TBRHSC. The Committee acts in an advisory capacity with the main purpose of implementing the Aboriginal Strategic Direction of TBRHSC’s current strategic plan.

“The Aboriginal community is significant in our region. By providing a voice for their culture, values, practices and traditions in patient and family care, the Aboriginal Advisory Committee is helping us achieve excellence in Aboriginal healthcare delivery”, says Lori Marshall, Acting Executive Vice President of Patient Care, Health Professions and Aboriginal Health, TBRHSC.

The committee is chaired by Andrée Robichaud, President and CEO of TBRHSC, who says the goals of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee are perfectly aligned with the health sciences centre’s strategic plan.

“When our current strategic plan was being developed, we recognized that Aboriginal Health needed to be a priority, and so it was identified as of our four strategic directions,” says Robichaud. “The committee helps us to engage with the Aboriginal community on initiatives such as developing culturally appropriate health plans, and creating a more welcoming environment for Aboriginal patients and their families.”

As part of an ongoing commitment to Aboriginal Health, and in addition to the formation of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee, TBRHSC introduced new staff positions, each focused on enhancing and supporting experiences for Aboriginal patients and families. This includes an Aboriginal Engagement Lead & Patient Advocate and three staff positions dedicated to linking Aboriginal patients and families with healthcare providers, facilitating access to care, services, resources and culturally appropriate support. As a result, TBRHSC is able to provide an enhanced, more comfortable experience for Aboriginal community members.

The dedicated work of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee, as well as the staff positions, has given TBRHSC the right tools to achieve excellence in Aboriginal health. Community engagement will also continue to play a vital role.

“As always, we embrace opportunities to involve stakeholders in the planning of healthcare – it’s an integral part of our Patient and Family Centred Care Philosophy”, says Susan Frasier, Chair, TBRHSC Board. “Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is accountable to the community. Therefore, the community needs to be a part of the decisions and progress. The Aboriginal Advisory Committee is a great initiative that provides a valuable opportunity for community involvement.”

The members of the TBRHSC Aboriginal Advisory Committee are:

Abe Kakapetum, Elder, Dennis Franklin Cromarty School
Sam Achneepineskum, Aboriginal Liaison, City of Thunder Bay
Brenda Mason, St. Joseph’s Care Group
Daryl Ottertail, Wequedong Lodge
Ernie May, Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre
Francine Pellerin, Matawa First Nations
Fred Sky, Wequedong Lodge
Jason Beardy, Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Louise Thomas, Ahnisnabae Art Gallery
Mona Hardy, Patient and Family Advisor
Robert Fenton, Ontario Native Women’s Association
Sandra Cornell, Lakehead University Native Nurses Entry Program
Shelly Whitney, Métis Nation of Ontario
Stanley Sainnawap, Wasaya Group Inc.
Susan Fitzpatrick, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Fort William First Nation
Teresa Trudeau, Anishnawbe Mushkiki
Tina Armstrong, Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Kanita Johnson, Aboriginal Liaison, Renal Services, TBRHSC
Susan Anderson, Aboriginal Liaison and Translator, Centre for Complex Diabetes Care, TBRHSC

Carmen Blais, Aboriginal Engagement Lead and Patient Advocate, TBRHSC
Rev. Merv Wilson, Multi Faith Chaplin, Spiritual Care, TBRHSC
Tracie Smith, Senior Director, Communications and Engagement, TBRHSC
Lori Marshall, Acting Executive Vice President, Patient Care, Health Professions & Aboriginal Health, TBRHSC
Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President, Chronic Disease Prevention & Management, TBRHSC
Andrée Robichaud, Chair, Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and President & CEO, TBRHSC


For more information, please contact:
Marcello Bernardo, Communications Officer
(807) 684-6765
[email protected]


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