Edition: Winter 2013
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.
Following the final phase of the federal transfer to the First Nations Health Authority on October 1, 2013, Tripartite partners are working together to review and develop the roles and workplans of various governance committees. These include the Framework Agreement Implementation Committee, the Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health, the Joint Project Board, and the First Nations and Deputy Ministers’ Table on the Social Determinants of Health.
The Implementation Committee is now two years into a five year mandate and with the focus of the work now shifting to the post-transfer phase, Committee members are reviewing the Implementation Plan to determine the work ahead. A key priority for the Committee is the development of a plan to evaluate the implementation of the Framework Agreement and the building of a more integrated health system for First Nations under the new Health Governance Structure.
Health Actions Update
With the transfer of programs and services formerly operated and managed by Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch to the First Nations Health Authority now complete, the Ministry of Health’s Aboriginal Health Directorate is working with the First Nations Health Authority to define processes and priorities for this new phase. With recent organizational changes within both the Ministry of Health and First Nations Health Authority, we are reviewing our work, and looking at ways to move forward together - provincially and within regions and communities - to achieve our Health Actions commitments. The Health Actions Evaluation that began in the summer is nearing completion, and the results and recommendations will provide important information to inform our work together. Read more
Winter Tips for Keeping Healthy
As winter approaches most of us retreat indoors for warmth. I know I would prefer to snuggle up in a blanket and hibernate when it’s chilly or rainy out, so I asked my fellow colleagues in the Aboriginal Health Directorate what their tips for keeping healthy or active during the winter are. Read more
Where Are They Now?
In 2013, the Aboriginal Health Directorate had three of its team members head off to begin new adventures. Our 2012/2013 Aboriginal Youth Interns left the Directorate to finish the program in their community placements, below they've provided an update on what they're up to now. Rachel Mason, Manager, Health Actions also left the Directorate in 2013, deciding to work part time while caring for her young family. An update on her exciting new endeavor is included below as well. Read more
Inuit Population in British Columbia
Interesting facts about the Inuit
One of my projects since starting at the Aboriginal Health Directorate in September has been to conduct health research about the Inuit population in British Columbia. This has also been a bit of a challenge due to the fact that there is no organization that represents the Inuit people in BC. I have had a chance to learn about the different communities within Inuit Nunangat and about the different structures of self-governance and how these structures work within each region. Read more
Aboriginal Youth Internship Program
Aboriginal Youth Internship Completion Ceremony Year 6
The Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) Year 6 Completion Ceremony took place in the evening of November 4, 2013, at the Laurel Point Inn, in Victoria. The ceremony was a great experience; the Year 7 cohort had the opportunity to meet many different people, including the interns who were a year before us and their families. Read more
Long Service Awards recognize Aboriginal Health Directorate’s Lori Isaac for 25 years in BC Public Service
The Aboriginal Health Directorate congratulates one of its own - Lori Isaac – for her incredible 25 years in the BC Public Service. Lori was officially recognized for her lengthy, celebrated career at the Long Service Awards ceremonies at Government House in Victoria, in October 2013. We look forward to many more memories and milestones with her as a valued member of the team.
This year was a milestone for First Nations and Aboriginal health. October began with the historic transfer of Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (BC Region) programs, services and operations to the First Nations Health Authority. This milestone has been in the works for several years, and was the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work and collaboration.
The amount of detailed work involved in such a transfer is impressive. I thank the First Nations Health Council, First Nations Health Authority, Health Canada and the Ministry of Health for their dedication. I know other provinces will be looking to follow in our footsteps. Read more
A Message from our Executive Director
I have been honored to have received some teachings about the Medicine wheel from Ojibway Elders and have tried to incorporate some of those lessons in my life.
The medicine wheel has four cardinal directions, and the northern direction is associated with winter. The specific point at which the journey around the wheel pauses for a brief moment, before it moves toward spring, is the solstice. Astronomers will tell you that for a few days around the solstice, the sun’s path during the day seems to rest at the same level in the sky – which we perceive as a pause. Read more
Health Authorities’ Aboriginal Health Leads and Partners Work Collectively in Vancouver
The regional health authorities’ Aboriginal Health Leads and their executives converged with representatives from the Ministry of Health’s Aboriginal Health Directorate and First Nations and Aboriginal organization partners in Vancouver in early October, 2013, at the Vancouver Coastal Health Offices on West Broadway.
The Aboriginal Health Leads meet quarterly with the Ministry of Health to work together on collective issues to improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples. On October 1, they met to discuss a range of topics, including Aboriginal patient navigators, Indigenous Cultural Competency training, and primary care service mapping. Read more
Ministry of Health Staff Witness Historic Transfer Celebration at Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey VI
The sixth Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey forum took place October 22-24, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in beautiful Coast Salish territory in Vancouver. The event brought together nearly all 203 First Nations in the province to discuss health priorities, and to celebrate an historic transfer of health programs, services and responsibilities. Approximately 15 Ministry of Health representatives who have been integral partners in health actions work as part of the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan witnessed the historic event, including seven members of the Aboriginal Health Directorate. Read more
Indigenous Cultural Competency Training
Indigenous Cultural Competency Training Now Mandatory for Ministry Executive and Key Divisions
The Ministry of Health reinvigorated its strong commitment towards cultural competency in the fall, placing new expectations among its staff to take the Provincial Health Service Authority’s Indigenous Cultural Competency Training. Read more
Training for Champions of Change
by Malisa Fox
I walked into the Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities leadership training in late November without knowing what to expect. I was among a huge group of strong Aboriginal leaders gathered together with the intention of working towards healthier communities. Over the two days, I received much more than training – I also got a golden experience of meeting such passionate and committed people. Their dedication to the training and their willingness to be champions in their communities went above and beyond what I would think possible. Read more
Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities
Regional Leader Training Sessions:
Inspiring Community 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 that aim to increase physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco cessation, and healthy pregnancies. Read more
New report highlights work of Health Authorities’ Aboriginal Health Programs
British Columbia’s five regional health authorities and the Provincial Health Services Authority play an integral role in the delivery of health services to Aboriginal peoples in BC. A new report serves to highlight the work of the Aboriginal Health Programs in the health authorities. The recently released Health Authorities' Aboriginal Health Programs Annual Report 2011-2012, details how the Aboriginal Health Programs design, deliver and fund services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Read more