Edition: 2014 - Winter
Overview of the Aboriginal Health Directorate
The Aboriginal Health Directorate:
- applies an “Aboriginal lens” to health policy development and program implementation for the Ministry of Health (MoH);
- helps implement government’s key strategic directions for Aboriginal health;
- provides guidance and support on Aboriginal health issues to other ministries;
- collaborates with key Aboriginal stakeholders and political organizations; and
- works with health authorities to integrate Aboriginal interests into their services.
Aboriginal Health Directorate receives a Premier’s Award Nomination!
The Premier's Innovation and Excellence Awards showcase and celebrate outstanding BC Public Service employees whose professionalism, dedication and innovation have made a difference in many lives and communities in BC. This past year, 2014, the Aboriginal Health Directorate (AHD) was a finalist in the Innovation Category for the historic “Transfer of Health Programs and Services for First Nations to First Nations Health Authority”. Read more
October 2014 marks a year since the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) assumed full responsibility for First Nation health programs and services formerly provided by Health Canada (First Nations and Inuit Health Branch - BC Region). The transfer of responsibility is a historic accomplishment and was achieved through provision of the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (Framework Agreement). The implementation of the Framework Agreement is overseen by a Tripartite Implementation Committee. Charged with developing and overseeing an ‘Implementation Plan’ for the Framework Agreement, the Implementation Committee is into year three of a five year mandate. Work is now underway to finalize the tripartite evaluation plan to evaluate the implementation of the Framework Agreement. Read more
As we move into 2015, the Aboriginal Health Directorate is very excited about the initiatives to come, while also taking a moment to reflect on what we have achieved this past year. This has been an exceptionally busy year for the Directorate, which includes working closely with the First Nations Health Authority and other partners, including the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and Métis Nation BC, to deliver and expand upon the Action Items identified in the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan. Read more
Long Service Awards recognize Aboriginal Health Directorate’s Nicole Ryan for 25 years in BC Public Service
The Aboriginal Health Directorate is proud to congratulate one of its very own - Nicole Ryan - for her amazing 25 years of commitment to the Public Service; she was officially recognized for her lengthy, celebrated career at the Long Service Awards ceremonies at Government House in Victoria, in October 2014. Nicole started her early career in the Public Service with the BC Parks as a summer opportunity that evolved into a permanent position. After that she moved to the Ministry of Health where she’s been in numerous different branches over the years; she’s worked in the Medical Services Plan branch, Population and Public Health in the Community Care Facilities Licensing area; Tobacco Reduction branch; and Business Operations and Surveillance. Read more
Who’s new to the Aboriginal Health Directorate?
The past six months have been times of change for the Aboriginal Health Directorate with previous staff moving up and moving on to new and different opportunities, and welcoming new staff to the team that we call family. While we are happy to encourage the growth and opportunities of past staff, times of change always brings new perspective, new energy and new ideas and we are pleased to introduce to you the following new additions to the Directorate:
Breanna has returned to the Aboriginal Health Directorate this past summer after having spent the last two years working with Integrated Primary and Community Care in the Ministry of Health. Coming back to the team feels like coming home and she is very excited to be working on the Health Actions portfolio bringing her passion of health and wellness to her daily work. Breanna will be supporting work falling under the umbrella of Primary Care and Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, Mental Wellness and Substance Use, and the Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities. When not at work, Breanna is usually out on an adventure with her two- and four-year-old girls, Kylie and Taylor, her husband Mike, and her rather large dog Miikka. Read more
A Message from Our Executive Director
When I think about Christmases of my Manitoba childhood, I imagine crisp and very cold winter evenings with snow squeaking underfoot, every breath visible in the frosty air. Surrounded by snow banks sparkling under street lights, the family - well bundled - walked to church. On a perfect Christmas Eve, soft flakes would be floating down, and swirling just a bit in the wind. As part of the community, we sang in the choir and had usually assisted the day before in decorating the church with very Canadian pine boughs, and not so Canadian poinsettias, placed carefully around an old lighted structure made of wood and bark, meant to represent a stable from a very different time and place. A star made of ribbon and tinsel was hung over the structure. Inside, the somewhat dusty plaster figures of a young family and their guests – both animal and human - were carefully placed among hay bales. It was like a little theatre, depicting out an old story that I loved, but in reality, that story was pretty distant from my life. I have always found it very interesting how we easily adopt images, traditions and expectations of those around us, and in a neighbourhood of many cultures in which I grew up, the songs, stories and decorations we saw around us reflected the lives of people who had come to Canada from all over the globe. It was a quintessential Canadian scene. Read more
Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities
Regional Leader Training Sessions: Developing and Leveraging Community Capacity to Support Health and Wellness
By Cain Kerehoma, Aboriginal Provincial Coordinator for AHLA
The Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities (AHLA) consists of a multifaceted, community-centered health promotion initiative, which is administered by the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation, and Physical Activity Partners Council in partnership with SportMedBC, and funded through the Aboriginal Health Directorate at the Ministry of Health. The goal of the AHLA is to promote healthy living by encouraging Aboriginal British Columbians to make healthy lifestyle choices, with a particular focus on supporting effective programs initiated at the community level in four key areas:
- physical activity;
- healthy eating;
- honouring the traditional use of tobacco; and
- healthy pregnancies.
Aboriginal Youth Internship Program
In its eighth year, the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) provides a 12-month paid internship for up to 25 young Aboriginal British Columbians. AYIP aims to provide this opportunity to help Aboriginal youth build professional skills and networks, get a taste for pursuing a career in government, and above all, awaken their capacity for leadership. AYIP supports young people who want to make a difference and empowers them to lead their communities and province into the future. Read more
Where are they now?
Dr. Evan Adams
While we are very excited for the new opportunities for Dr. Evan Adams at the First Nations Health Authority, we will greatly miss him as the Deputy Provincial Health Officer here at the Ministry of Health. While at the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, Evan worked alongside Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, the newly appointed Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the recently retired Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Eric Young. In his role, he provided direction on First Nations and Aboriginal health issues, reporting to citizens on health issues affecting the general population, and setting out a path for the improvement of First Nations and Aboriginal health and wellness. Evan has moved on to the First Nations Health Authority where he has assumed the role of Chief Medical Officer. He will continue to provide leadership and work alongside government partners on health matters that affect First Nations and all British Columbians. We wish Evan all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for all his valuable work here at the Ministry of Health. Read more
38th Annual Elders Gathering
On July 7-9, 2014, Lori Isaac from the Aboriginal Health Directorate, and Julie Shaver from the Seniors' Health Promotion Directorate, attended the 38th Annual Elders Gathering hosted by the Penticton Indian Band. This is Lori’s fourth year attending the Elders gathering and it was just as enjoyable as ever. Read more
With November coming and going we are proud to say we have accomplished a tremendous amount of work and passed some significant milestones this year! The Aboriginal Health Directorate has a lot on the go at all times. Whether it’s one of the members off to Vancouver for back-to-back meetings or an all day workshop we host here at the ministry, we are busy bees to say the least! With that being said, we still manage to maintain a sense of community and lightness here at our branch. Birthday parties, Halloween decorating you name it! Don’t get me wrong- we do plenty of work, but understand that self-care is important.... Needless to say the highlight of our November month was certainly the MoH-vember grams. Read more