Boozhoo! A big “hello” from where I live, work and play on unceded Coast Salish territory! On behalf of the IPAC Executive, I welcome all IPAC members to our new website and wish each of you a wonderful spring and summer 2018. I’ve continued to settle in to life in Vancouver, BC, and my new job at First Nations Health Authority has kept me very busy. In early May, I travelled to Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba to take on the Inaugural Dr. Philip Katz Memorial Visiting Professorship in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Katz was a strong ally and friend of the first Indigenous psychiatrist in Canada, Dr. Clare Brant (1941-1995). While in Winnipeg, it was great to connect with my Indigenous medical colleagues including Drs. Cathy Cook, Marcia Anderson, Barry Lavallee, Melinda Fowler-Woods, Glennis Bushie and others. It reminds me of how inspired and recharged I feel after spending time with my colleagues! We need to do it more often!
There are several upcoming opportunities for some of us to gather together including the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC) 2018, which is taking place from July 12-17, 2018 in Hilo on the Big Island, Hawaii. Canada had a large number of successful abstracts accepted; Dr. Evan Adams will be giving a keynote, and I will be on an international panel discussing Indigenous resilience and natural disasters. Our Hawaiian colleagues reassure us that Hilo will be safe and that the organizing committee has everyone’s safety top of mind. You can find up-to-date information about the Kilauea Volcano here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/.
Also, this year’s IPAC National Mentorship Form & Annual General Meeting is taking place on August 24 & 25, 2018 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory! All members, but especially students, are invited to bring any posters for presentation of research or projects they have been involved in over the past year. The theme of our conference is physician wellness. Interestingly, we held an all-day team meeting at work two days ago and we shared around the circle what we do to look after our own wellness. While it was great to hear so many examples of people trying to take care of themselves physically (e.g., exercise more, get outdoors, eat more fruits and veggies), there were very few examples shared of maintaining our wellness in the emotional, mental and spiritual spheres. Food for thought as we come together in late August to discuss our own wellness.
My priorities as President continue to include supporting and promoting mentorship of our developing physicians, increasing funding to sustain our organization, providing IPAC members opportunities to present on Indigenous health issues and learn about issues that are relevant to us as practising health care providers — including physician wellness and additional professional skills (media relations/advocacy, political skills, interdisciplinary work, and more). On behalf of the IPAC Executive and Board of Directors, I wish our members and partners a healthy, happy and productive upcoming spring and summer! Hope to see you soon!
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In Spirit, Chii-Meegwetch,
Dr. Cornelia (Nel) Wieman
Follow me on Twitter: @cwieman