Message from the Director – January 11, 2023
Happy new year! I hope you all had a restful holiday season and a gentle return to work. January is a time for reflection, renewal, and growth. On a personal level, I’ve returned to two passions that had fallen off my priority list, learning Spanish and running. It feels good to make time to nurture my own personal growth.
Here at IPAC we started this year by welcoming two new staff members. Tom Lindsay has joined us as our new Membership and Mentorship manager and Kayla Knelsen has joined us in a new IPAC role as our Finance and Administration Coordinator. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them both at our Annual Mentorship Gathering and AGM in Winnipeg July 6-9, 2023. Please save the date.
We are very excited to have the opportunity to gather in Akwesasne for an IPAC Board and Staff development retreat this month. Our board member Dr. Ojistoh Horn is welcoming us to her clinic and her community where we will discuss, revise, and construct IPAC’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2025, as well as integrate the principles of wellness and joy in work during our time together. The board will also have the opportunity to be guests on the local radio station, inspiring youth to consider a career in healthcare.
The new ‘TRC Calls to Action 23 and 24 Medical School Report Card’ committee has been working hard to prepare and share the 2021 survey results and will be sending the 2022 survey out at the same time late January. The survey provides medical schools with feedback on how well the students feel the schools are responding to the TRC Calls to Action 23 and 24 as well as concrete suggestions based on student input. Please keep an eye on your inbox and social media and be sure to complete the survey if you are a student.
I wish you all good health, happiness and success both personally and professionally.
Melanie Osmack, Acting Director
Message from the Director – October 12, 2022
Welcome to our IPAC Fall Newsletter. I hope you all had some time to relax and reconnect over the summer months. I had the pleasure of returning to Newfoundland and hiking the breathtaking coastlines. It’s such a magical place.
As everyone can imagine, the amount of planning and preparation leading up to PRIDoC was immense and its momentum carried through until the last day of our gathering. IPAC’s Board and Staff have since been able to carry both the knowledge of a job well done and its valued moments through a transition back to IPAC’s mission and mandate – the support of our Indigenous physicians and medical learners as well as our responsibility to help improve the health of our Indigenous communities and peoples as a whole.
After several years of service, we thanked outgoing board members Dr Nel Wieman, Dr Evan Adams, Dr Sarah Funnell and Josha Rafael for their endless contributions to IPAC. A warm welcome and welcome back to our 2022/23 board members Dr Mandy Buss, Dr Mike Dumont, Dr Alexa Lesperance, Dr Rebekah Eatmon, Dr Ojistoh Horn, Dr Randi George, and medical student Laney Beaulieu. You can get to know them all here. I am honoured to serve and support such an exceptional group of Indigenous medical leaders.
This September saw the successful launch of our in-person IPAC Mentorship Gatherings. Our first event was at the University of Manitoba and coincided with the Indigenous Medical Student Association of Canada (IMSAC) strategic planning weekend. It was lovely to see our Manitoba family as well as the IMSAC circle members. We were honoured to listen and learn. During the month of September we continued to bring events to medical schools in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Our Membership and Mentorship Manager, Sara Ayaruak-Thomson, will be visiting the medical schools in Alberta and Saskatchewan in October and we plan to host an event for UBC coinciding with their annual spring Indigenous Physicians Network Gathering.
Our National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education (NCIME) Working Group on Physician Wellness and Joy in Work continues to make great strides in their work and met in person at PRIDoC. Our IPAC Administrative Manager, Ariel John, has joined the working group and is serving as project manager. With our change in leadership, Dr Mike Dumont will now serve as Chair of this working group and Dr Mandy Buss as chair of the working group in Anti-Indigenous Racism.
This fall I have been able to return to my role, representing IPAC in our work to end anti-Indigenous racism in medical education and healthcare systems in Canada. As a member of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) Anti-Racism Advisory circle, I am part of a team of dedicated advocates from Indigneous health organizations like The Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association (CINA) and the Indigenous Dental Association of Canada (IDAC). We are stronger together.
In closing, I want to take a moment to recognize and honour the life and death of Joyce Echaquan. September 28 marks the second anniversary of the tragic day that Joyce died while enduring racists slurs by healthcare workers who were supposed to be caring for her. May we remember Joyce and her family as we work to end anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s healthcare systems.
Melanie Osmack, Acting Director
Message from the President and Director – March 16, 2022
Bozhoo! Tan’si! Greetings from IPAC,
On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, we hope you are all finding time for joy and rest. The theme of this quarter’s newsletter is growth, something IPAC has experienced much of over the past year. It’s been a fast-paced and exciting time to serve IPAC and we would like to share some of our highlights.
We welcomed two new board members, Dr. Mike Dumont and McMaster student Josha Quinn, both of whom are founding members of our Champions Committee – a group dedicated to lifting up and celebrating our colleagues for their amazing work. Since its’ inception in the fall of 2020, we have seen successful Indigenous nominees for the CMA awards, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the RDoC awards and more.
Our membership grew to 341 active members, largely in part to our Membership and Mentorship Manager, Sara Ayaruak-Thomson. Since joining us in November they have been fostering relationships with medical schools and encouraging them to sponsor IPAC student member fees as part of their reconciliation journey. Sara has created and rolled out our Mentorship Circle, which already has over 50 registrants whom are making the most of this personalized portal. They have also organized and hosted several membership and mentorship events online and have been integral to the planning of PRIDoC, where you’ll have the chance to meet Sara in person.
Our capacity as an organization has also grown significantly. In four short months, our Administrative Coordinator, Ariel John, has created and improved our administrative procedures and systems, allowing us more time and energy to focus on IPAC’s strategic priorities. Ariel supports the IPAC board and staff, often going above and beyond, in keeping us organized and on track. An excellent problem solver, she has quickly become an invaluable part of the IPAC team. Ariel has been the lead on all things accreditation for PRIDoC and you’ll have the opportunity to thank her in person for your CPDs this July at PRIDoC 2022.
Through our partnership with the National Consortium for Medical Education (NCIME), we launched our working group on Physician Wellness and Joy in Work. We have been collaborating on a draft framework to define physician wellness and joy in work with the ultimate goal of creating tools to support Indigenous physicians. The NCIME executive and working groups will have their first in-person meeting April 22, in conjunction with the Canadian College in Medical Education (CCME).
Our relationships with partners and stakeholders have grown as well. In 2021, IPAC became a member of the Canadian Medical Forum which brings together leaders of Canada’s major national medical organizations to discuss issues of priority to physicians, their patients, and the Canadian health care system. We received a $1 million grant from the Canadian Medical Foundation to increase capacity and create the IPAC mentorship program. We also entered into a funding agreement with MD Financial which will support our future annual gatherings and AGMs as well as student travel to PRIDoC 2022.
With the Pacific Regional Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) 2022 around the corner, our staff, board, and volunteer subcommittee members have been hard at work preparing to welcome you in partnership with our host nations – the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. We cannot wait to connect in-person, learn from each other and celebrate our cultures. Registration is open!
Dr. Cornelia Wieman, President
Melanie Osmack, Acting Director