Message from the President – January 11, 2023
Aaniin Boozhoo, Tan’si, Greetings from IPAC,
The theme of this newsletter is growth and development. A few weeks ago I attended a Winter Solstice celebration. These celebrations bring us together to share stories, teachings, laughter and food. It is a time of year when we experience the shortest amount of sunlight and the longest amount of darkness and the land lays to rest. Traditionally, this became an important time to share stories of creation, of hunting and survival, or to share teachings. Storytelling has been an essential part of our traditions and a way of knowledge exchange. It is the glue that connects us to our ancestral knowledge and to each other. It is a gift. A teaching that I learnt by our Elder during this particular ceremony was around the teaching of Tobacco. Tobacco was one of the first medicines to step up and help support humans on Turtle Island. It is the medicine that connects us to the spirit world and takes our prayers to Creator. We offer it when asking for gifts of stories and knowledge. It is from these stories that we are able to grow, we are able to develop ourselves, our families and our communities.
With that said, our IPAC family has also grown! I would like to welcome Tom Lindsay, Membership and Mentorship Manager, and Kayla Knelsen, Finance and Administrative Coordinator. We are so excited they have joined our team and look forward to working with them throughout this new year.
The IPAC Board and Staff are honoured and excited to be heading to the Mohawk community of Akwesasne on January 26-29, 2023, for our strategic planning and team building retreat. This board and staff retreat will incorporate joy and wellness through traditional teaching, learning, team bonding and board planning so that we can work towards supporting our membership and communities. We are so grateful for our Physician Director Dr. Ojistoh Horn and her community for inviting us to their territory. I also want to say a big thank you to Dr. Lisa Calder at the CMPA for their generous financial contribution to this event.
Dr. Mandy Buss, President
Message from the President – October 12, 2022
Aaniin Boozhoo, Tan’si, Greetings from IPAC,
On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff we hope you enjoyed your summer and had time to enjoy the beauty of our lands and waters that make up Turtle Island. I was so grateful to spend time on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish: Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations at PRIDoC 2022 this July. I was also able to reconnect with my cousin after 30 years. In July and August, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the lake, making memories, in the beautiful Canadian Shield in Northwestern Ontario, with my son, Riddick.
The period between summer and fall was a huge transition – more specifically the end of PRIDoC, and with that, IPAC’s election of a new Board of Directors. PRIDoC was such a memorable occasion and it was filled with Spirit, Love, Friendship and Support. I can’t think of a better way to start off my new role with IPAC as President and I am so grateful to be working alongside Dr Mike Dumont (Vice President), Dr Alexa Lesperance (Secretary), Dr Rebekah Eatmon (Treasurer), Dr Ojistoh Horn (Physician Director), Dr Randi George (Resident Director), and Laney Beaulieu (Student Director). They are all so dedicated and passionate about working to improve the health outcomes for our families and communities and improving the experience of our students, residents and physicians learning and working within the health system. I also want to acknowledge and honor outgoing board members Dr Nel Wieman, Dr Evan Adams, Dr Sarah Funnell and Dr. Josha Rafael for their years of leadership and mentorship to IPAC.
As we just had our Fall Equinox last week, I reflect on the teachings I have learned about this season. Fall teaches us about balance where, on September 22, the day and night fall into balance. Fall is a beautiful gift from Gitche Manitou (Creator) that teaches us about change. Change can be difficult as we transition from summer to winter, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, but nature teaches us that change is inevitable. If we look at the trees in the fall we see the beautiful colors of their leaves but the tree must let go of its beauty as it no longer needs its leaves – it knows to let go of things that will weigh it down in the winter. For the leaves, they have a new purpose, to provide shelter and warmth for those little creatures on the ground. In the spring, those leaves will provide nutrients for the earth to help support new life. For me, this is a time to reflect on those things in my life that weigh me down and no longer serve me and what things need nurturing to grow. I look forward to warm bonfires and cozy nights inside snuggling with my son watching movies. I look forward to nurturing relationships with friends, family and colleagues that have been challenged through the COVID-19 pandemic. I also look forward to the new relationships that will grow through this new role with IPAC.
I want to give a special thank-you to our Mentorship Manager Sara Ayaruak-Thomson in the successful launch of this seasons’ IPAC Mentorship Gatherings. The gatherings started in September and will continue throughout October. I was able to be a part of the gathering that occurred in Winnipeg, at the University of Manitoba. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with our medical students and sharing my own experience as an Indigenous physician. It was also an opportunity to connect with Indigenous Colleagues in Manitoba and to listen and learn from them. We often get busy in our lives and don’t have enough opportunities to connect and support each other in this way.
I am so proud of our Indigenous Medical Students who have established the Indigenous Medical Student Association of Canada (IMSAC). They are showing exemplary leadership early in their careers and providing safe space for our students. They were able to hold their strategic planning weekend in Manitoba that had coincided with the mentorship event.
I would also like to congratulate Dr. Alika Lafontaine on his new Presidency of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Alika Lafontaine is the first Indigenous president in the CMA’s 155-year history.
To close, I want to reflect on the various events that have occurred in the past month: September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and October 4: National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. These both happened right after the two-year anniversary of Joyce Eshaquan’s tragic death. I want to honor her life, and all of our sisters, mothers and aunties who are missing or murdered, and all those little ones who never made it home. We will remember them in the work we do to end Anti-Indigenous Racism within and outside of the healthcare system.
Dr. Mandy Buss, President
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