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Community Events

Truth and Reconciliation: Decolonizing Healthcare in Canada | February 26, 2019

Melanie Jeffrey, one of our amazing postdoctoral research fellows, will be speaking at an event called Decolonizing Healthcare in Canada: Storytelling and Discussion with you! This event is on Tuesday, February 26th from 2:30-6:30pm, with a blanket exercise and dinner from 2:30-5:30pm and a discussion from 5:30-6:30pm. The discussion will be focused around the unique challenges impacting access to and the delivery of healthcare, including disparities between urban, rural, and Indigenous territorial settings, as well as the incorporation of traditional teachings and needs. Feel free to come to one or both parts of the events and make sure to register on the Eventbrite link. Read more.

National Indigenous Mental Health Gathering | January 2019

On January 17, 2019, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education hosted the National Indigenous Mental Health Gathering, which brought together Indigenous scholars from across the country — including WBIIH faculty, students and partners — to discuss important issues facing our communities such as mental health, life promotion, and well-being.

Hand Drumming, Spirit Wind Women’s Hand Drum Group | September 2018-Ongoing

In collaboration with the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, WBIIH hosts a monthly drum social to bring the community members together from DLSPH and beyond. We are fortunate enough to have these socials facilitated by the Spirit Wind Women’s Hand Drum Group.

The name Spirit Wind represents the importance of giving thanks for our breath. Multi-talented artists, singers, songwriters and dancers Nancy Johnson, Michele Perpaul, Tania Cordoba, Rochelle Allan, Amy Desjarlais, and Dawnis Kennedy come together to share Native traditional and social hand-drum songs through stories, drum, voice, and shakers.

This style of singing brings women from all over Turtle Island together and offers them an opportunity to practice and live Native spirituality in traditional as well as non-traditional settings. Women’s hand drum social singing is a relatively new tradition, however, the drum itself has been acknowledged as the heartbeat of Mother Earth since time immemorial. The drumbeat reminds of our relationship and connection to Creation. Read more.

Youth for Water Conference | November 6-10, 2017

The Youth for Water program was created to empower Indigenous youth in the Peterborough, Ontario area with an interest in becoming water leaders who are unsure of which direction to take their passion. We are currently working to engage Indigenous youth from across Ontario to participate in a weeklong conference where they will receive training and support to design their own water project in their home communities. Read more.

Indigenizing Psychology Symposium: Public Health & Healing | October 19, 2017

This one-day symposium will cover issues related to Indigenous public health and healing in mental health. It is for educators, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers of all disciplines of applied mental health interested in enhancing their knowledge and skills, exchanging perspectives, and exploring new ideas.  Read more.

WBIIH Request for Proposal Review Committee Meeting | December 9, 2016

A 14-person RFP review committee of largely Indigenous academic and community health researchers, service providers and civil servants from across Canada met on December 9 to review 13 applications, including student-led research projects, student travel awards and team-led research projects all of which focused on Indigenous priority health issues using adjudication criteria that valued community relevance and scientific excellence. The meeting was co-chaired by Drs. Jeff Reading, First Nations Heart Health Chair at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Special Advisor on Indigenous Health to the DLSPH Dean Howard Hu and the senior leadership team of the WBIIH. Dr. Heather Castleden, Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments and Communities at Queen’s University co-chaired the RFP Review Committee. Dr. Cynthia Stirbys, SFU Adjunct Professor, was the Acting Scientific Officer for the RFP Review Committee.

Community Advisory Council Meeting | September 20-21, 2016

The third CAC meeting was held in Vancouver, British Columbia and chaired by Dr. Margo Greenwood on September 20 during which Mr. Harold Tarbell, a strategic planning consultant, led the discussions to gather information that will inform the direction of the WBIIH with the intent to improve Indigenous Peoples’ health. Guests from the Rick Hansen Institute, Chief Executive Officer Bill Barrable and Strategic Implementation Director Penny Clarke-Richardson, also attended to discuss common goals and identify how RHI and WBIIH can work together and consider partnerships. On September 21, CAC youth members, Ms. Lindsay Dupré and Ms. Hayley Moody along with the support of CAC members chaired the meeting where members discussed the Request for Proposal program, the Collaborative Program in Aboriginal Health, WBIIH leadership and governance including the role of CAC members.

Summer Mentorship Program | July 2016

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) gives high school students of Indigenous or African ancestry a chance to explore health sciences at U of T over four weeks in July. WBIIH organized two SMP sessions on July 7 and 22, 2016. The sessions were interactive research mock exercises conducted by Drs. Anita Benoit, Raglan Maddox, Ben Brisbois and Lori Chambers.
Sixty students participated in the SMP research mock sessions where they learned about research methodologies including conducting surveys and interviews. On July 18, 2016 WBIIH organized a dinner for SMP Indigenous students. The dinner allowed students to interact and get guidance from Indigenous leaders/graduates in health research.

Indigenous Health Conference | May 26-27, 2016

Indigenous Health Conference (IHC) 2016: Towards Health and Reconciliation.

Click here for Conference Website

WBIIH Presenters:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Reconciliation Means Not Saying Sorry Twice: Remedying Contemporary Inequalities in First Nations children’s Health and Well-being.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa, The Indigenous Water Co-Governance Project: Community-Based Research in Action.

Dr. Michael Dan, Root Causes of the Indigenous-Settler Health gap.

Earl Nowgesic, ‘I wanted to meet an Elder’: Indigenous peoples, HIV antiretroviral therapy and culture, (invited lecture)

Anita Benoit, Comparing ART interruption, time to virologic suppression and morality between Indigenous peoples and people of other ethnicities living with HIV

Anita Benoit, Building Bridges: A Model for Community Engagement in Epidemiology Research

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Working Groups | April 6, 2016

The WBIIH is helping to develop recommendations for U of T’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Steering Committee. Professor Nowgesic is co-chairing one of the committee’s five working groups with Professor Lorraine Ferris, Associate Vice-President of Research, which is examining Indigenous Research Ethics and Community Relationships. Professor Benoit is a member of the Indigenous Curriculum working group.

Community Advisory Council Meeting | March 8, 2016

The second WBIIH Community Advisory Council meeting was held in Toronto and chaired by Dr. Margo Greenwood. The Council’s Terms of Reference were reviewed as well as a WBIIH Request for Proposal program. The program will provide funding to community-based Indigenous Health Intervention research projects, planning projects, student-based Indigenous health research projects and student travel awards. Projects may include culture as a healing intervention; Indigenous-based mental health interventions; addiction and prevention interventions; language programs; food sovereignty for health; Elder impact on community well-being; and youth leadership programs.

Northwest Angle 33 First Nation Community-Based Cancer Study Reception | February 11, 2016

WBIIH hosted a reception in honour of the community-based cancer and environment study in Northern Ontario conducted with Chief Darlene Comegan of Northwest Angle 33 First Nation. Elder Clifford Thomas presided over the reception and The Little Embers from the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre performed.

Chiefs of Ontario Press Conference | October 5, 2015

WBIIH hosted a press conference for the Chiefs of Ontario and leaders of the Neskantaga First Nation community from Northern Ontario. The press conference aimed to bring attention to the poor health conditions of the Neskantaga First Nation community and the 20-year boil-water advisory in the community. The press conference gained national media attention and resulted in a policy statement from Justin Trudeau in the 2015 federal elections:

Neskantaga First Nation demands action on 20-year boil-water advisory

Liberals to fund water plant for Neskantaga First Nation in 2016

Community Advisory Council Meeting | September 16, 2015

The inaugural WBIIH Community Advisory Council meeting was held in Toronto, Ontario and terms of reference were drafted to guide the council to act in an advisory capacity to the Institute. The council works with the WBIIH Director and Dalla Lana School of Public Health Dean to guide and direct the strategic direction of the Institute and promote community-driven and relevant scholarship, education and partnership. This 20-person council includes Indigenous scholars and other experts from academia, the healthcare sector and support services and community members at large and is chaired by Dr. Margo Greenwood.

Naming Ceremony | March 23, 2015

The Institute’s name was unveiled at a naming ceremony coinciding with the Spring Equinox, which included remarks by Dean Howard Hu, Dr. Michael Dan, the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Jeff Reading, Interim Director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Bryce family representatives, Phil Fontaine (former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations) and Indigenous Elders and Thought Leaders. All gathered to celebrate the Institute’s name and vision for cultivating thriving Indigenous communities.

Achievements and recognition

Dr. Angela Mashford-Pringle, WBIIH Associate Director, disuses Diabetes in Indigenous Populations at the Assembly of First Nations Health Transformation Summit on February 13-14, 2018. Watch video.

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, WBIIH Director, discusses Indigenous Communities Surviving Canada on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on November 16, 2017. Read more.

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, WBIIH Director, featured in fall 2017 U of T Magazine in the article, A Refuge from the Streets. Read more.

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, WBIIH Director, discusses Pikangikum First Nation’s suicide crisis on Breakfast Television on July 25, 2017. Read more.

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, WBIIH Director, publishes opinion editorial Facing the truth makes for a worthy celebration in Toronto Star on June 30, 2017. Read more.

Dr. Michael Dan received an honorary doctor of laws from York University on June 20, 2017 in recognition of his work in social innovation, as a humanitarian, and for his role as a philanthropist. Read more.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member, named Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. Read more.

Elder Janice (Kahehti:io) Longboat, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on December 30, 2016. Read more.

Dr. Michael Dan, ex-officio and honorary member of the WBIIH Community Advisory Council, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on December 30, 2016. Read more.

Candice Lys, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member and FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) lead, received a Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) from the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on December 8, 2016. Read more.

Earl Nowgesic’s Indigenous Red Ribbon Storytelling Study profiled by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2016. Read more.

Earl Nowgesic mentioned by Canadian Federal Health Minister, The Honourable Jane Philpott, on Twitter for his Indigenous Red Ribbon Storytelling presentation at the at the International Indigenous Pre-Conference on HIV & AIDS on July 16, 2016. Read more.

Earl Nowgesic, Public Health Trailblazer receives President’s Award for the Outstanding Native Student of the Year. Read more.

Cindy Blackstock, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member, advocates for better child welfare services for First Nations people. Read more.

Candice Lys, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member and FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) lead, receives Arctic Inspiration Prize. Read more.

Doris Young, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member, named Indian Residential School Survivor Committee member. Read more.

Lindsay DuPré, WBIIH Community Advisory Council member, receives grant for Weaving the Sash: Métis youth, culture, and connection. Read more.