Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Appoints Indigenous Leader in Residence

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry appoints Indigenous Leader in Residence – The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University has appointed an Indigenous Leader in Residence with the aim of fostering an environment that is inclusive and culturally safe for all individuals and to specifically address the health of Indigenous peoples and communities.

In this newly designed role, Danielle Alcock, PhD, who is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, will be the champion for all aspects of the School’s Indigenous Health Action Plan and guide the School in achieving the goals set out by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action specifically related to health care education.

“Dr. Alcock brings the perfect mix of experience, knowledge, research and advocacy to the role in order to help Schulich Medicine & Dentistry achieve the goal of becoming a more inclusive space for Indigenous faculty, staff and learners and improving Indigenous health as a whole,” said Dr. Jay Rosenfield, Vice Dean, Education at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Alcock has held advocacy roles with the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) since 2016. Most recently, she was the Aboriginal Patient Navigator with SOAHAC where she offered advocacy and culturally safe holistic support to Indigenous clients at the five hospitals in London and the surrounding area.

She is also actively involved in community engagement, serving on a number of boards and committees. She is an advisory member of the Ontario Caring Advisory Council, a member of the Patient Experience Committee at London Health Sciences Centre and a post-secondary mentor for the Babamadiziwin Program at Chippewas of Rama First Nation. She is also on the executive board of the Deshkan Ziibi Chapter of the Ontario Native Women’s Association and a mentee with the Indigenous Mentorship Network Program of Ontario.

“I think the end goal is going to be making sure that Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is a space that is representative of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” said Alcock, who obtained both her Master of Arts and Doctorate of Philosophy in Anthropology from Western University, with a focus on Indigenous health and memory loss. “To achieve that goal, it will be important to work with community partners to find out what that looks like, and I hope that we can foster relationships that go well beyond just my role.”

In December 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report and included 94 Calls to Action, with two specifically directed at health care education.

Calls to Action #23 and #24 respectively called for an:

Increase in the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the healthcare field; for the insurance of the retention of Aboriginal health-care providers in Aboriginal communities, and to provide cultural competency training for all health care professionals.

Medical (and Nursing) Schools should require students to take a course dealing with Aboriginal health issues, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, and Indigenous teachings and practices. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.

The Indigenous Leader in Residence is a new role for Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and was created following several months of planning and extensive consultation with Indigenous leaders across Southwestern Ontario.

Jennifer Parraga, Director, Communications & Marketing, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

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