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Media Release

NOSM Hosts Pathways to Well-Being Workshop in Thunder Bay

Gathering Addresses Youth Suicide in Northern and Indigenous Communities

On Wednesday, June 28, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) hosted a one-day workshop titled Pathways to Well-Being to address the high rates of youth suicide in Northern and Indigenous communities. The event, held in Thunder Bay, brought together 90 participants, including Indigenous Elders, youth, leadership, community members, and community-based health-care providers, to develop an action plan to create a future in Indigenous communities without suicide.
The one-day workshop comes from a recommendation made during NOSM’s Indigenous Research Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie in June 2016—shortly after a state of emergency was declared in Attawapiskat. “It was noted during the Indigenous Research Gathering that there were not many youth in attendance at the Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie,” says NOSM Dean, Dr. Roger Strasser. “It was also observed that Indigenous youth suicide was too common in their communities. Those observations led to today’s Pathways to Well-Being workshop.”
After hearing about death prevention and life promotion from Dr. Ed Connors, an Indigenous psychologist and leader in his field, participants discussed in small groups topics such as Traditional Ways, meaningful conversations, the role of communities, and the role of health-care providers. One of the key outcomes of the Pathways to Well-Being workshop is a commitment to develop a multi-year plan, led by a Steering Committee with representation from across the Northern Ontario.
“As a medical school with an explicit mandate to be accountable to the peoples we serve, we continually seek the guidance of our Indigenous partners to ensure activities are directed towards the priority health concerns of Northern Ontarians,” says Strasser. “We hope the work started here today will support Indigenous communities in creating a future where youth thrive and envision exciting opportunities for themselves throughout their lives.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minster of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and MP, Thunder Bay-Superior North, spoke to Pathways to Well-Being participants. Philpott spoke to the federal government’s commitment to addressing the shortage of Indigenous health professionals in Canada and announced the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are investing $8 million to form a cross-country mentorship network for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples considering a career in health research.

Photo caption (left to right): Ms. Valerie Ooshag; Chief Arlene Slipperjack; Mr. Jason Smallboy, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief; Dr. Charles Branch, Co-Chair, NOSM Indigenous Reference Group; Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health; Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean; Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minster of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and MP, Thunder Bay-Superior North; and, Mr. Don Rusnak, MP, Thunder Bay-Rainy River.

View photo.

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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research. 

Kimberley Larkin
Communications Officer
Phone: 705-662-7243
Email: klarkin@nosm.ca 


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