Despite “good intentions” health services in Canada are commonly of limited social value for Indigenous peoples. Indigenous/non-Indigenous health inequities are striking, pervasive, and persistent. The City of Toronto is home to approximately 55,000 Indigenous peoples – roughly one fifth of the total Indigenous population in the province. Despite the geographic access to high quality health services provided by urban residence, health status inequities do not improve in cities and in some cases are worse. In this presentation, Dr. Smylie will first describe 3 underlying dilemmas that are preventing health services from achieving positive value and impacts for Indigenous populations. She will then draw on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report to provide the audience with concrete actions to address these problems
Dzime Deka’l Ma (Tahltan meaning White Bird Mother)
Alita is a woman of two nations – Tahltan from British Columbia and Cree from Saskatchewan. She provides traditional teachings and ceremonies handed down to her through both her maternal and paternal bloodlines. A mother of 4 ranging in ages 27-44 and 3 grandchildren, Alita is also the adopted Mother or Auntie or Grandmother for many Indigenous community members of all ages in Canada, United States and Mexico. Also a descendant of Traditional Medicine Societies, Alita has a lifetime of training from both male and female knowledge keepers from both her bloodlines. These beautiful gifts make it possible for her to share many teachings and ceremonies.
Dr. Janet Smylie
Dr. Janet Smylie is a family physician and public health researcher. She currently works as a research scientist in Indigenous health at St. Michael’s hospital, Centre for Urban Health Solutions (CUHS), where she directs the Well Living House Applied Research Centre for Indigenous Infant, Child and Family Health. Her primary academic appointment is as a Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She maintains a part-time clinical practice with Inner City Health Associates at Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto. Dr. Smylie has practiced and taught family medicine in a variety of Aboriginal communities both urban and rural. She is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, with Métis roots in the prairies. Her research interests are focused in the area of addressing the health inequities that challenge Indigenous infants, children and their families through applied health services research. Dr. Smylie currently leads multiple research projects in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities/organizations. She holds a CIHR Applied Public Health Research Chair in Indigenous Health Knowledge and Information and was honoured with a National Aboriginal Achievement (Indspire) Award in Health in 2012. A Métis woman, Dr. Smylie acknowledges her family, teachers, and lodge.