Dr. Danièle Behn Smith has been appointed as the province’s new aboriginal health physician adviser, announced provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
In the position, Dr. Behn Smith will work alongside Dr. Kendall and deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to provide independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health on First Nations and Aboriginal health issues. In support of the ministry’s strategic agenda, Dr. Behn Smith will focus on closing the gap in health outcomes between First Nations and other British Columbians. She started in the role Oct. 13, 2015.
Dr. Behn Smith is Eh Cho Dene (Big Animal People) of the Fort Nelson First Nation in B.C. with Métis roots in the Red River Valley. Since getting her Doctor of Medicine from McMaster University and completing residencies at the universities of Ottawa and Manitoba, Dr. Behn Smith’s career has spanned the country and the globe.
She has practiced rural medicine in remote communities across Canada and was most recently a family physician at Tse’wulhtun Health Center in the Cowichan Valley. She was the board director for the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the director of education for the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Health Initiatives Program and the site director of the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Family practice residency.
Dr. Behn-Smith was also the host of “Medicine Woman”, a 13-episode television series which explored traditional healing practices in ten countries on six continents.
Dr. Perry Kendall, provincial health officer –
“Dr. Behn Smith is an accomplished physician with first-hand experience serving rural communities across Canada. This experience will provide a unique insight to the Provincial Health Office and support our efforts to find innovative ways to support Aboriginal health. I welcome her to the ministry and look forward to working with her.”
Terry Lake, Minister of Health –
“Dr. Danièle Behn Smith’s role reflects a strengthened partnership between First Nations and Province of B.C. and is an important facet of First Nations health care representation. I look forward to working with her on our shared goal of raising the quality of health for First Nations and all citizens.”
Dr. Danièle Behn Smith –
“I am honoured to accept this position with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. There’s still a lot that needs to be done to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal peoples across the province, and I welcome to the opportunity to work with a team that shares this goal. l am certain that in partnership with Aboriginal communities, we’ll make a big difference.”
Dr. Evan Adams, First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer –
“Dr. Danièle Behn-Smith is an excellent First Nations physician – particularly in her clinical work and relationships with First Nations communities, and in training other First Nations and Aboriginal physicians in B.C. She will add a fresh perspective and energy to Dr. Kendall’s office and is a welcomed partner to the FNHA family in our transformative work together.”
Learn more about B.C.’s office of the provincial health officer: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer
Learn more about the First Nations Health Authority: www.fnha.ca/