Building a stronger health-care system

Jeremy Stevenson
CEO North East LHIN

Our strength is in our people. That’s why at the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) we put people first in guiding our values, priorities and decision making.
We believe that people are what really matter. As health system manager, we look to the knowledge, resiliency and wisdom of the first people who lived here — our First Nations. We are fortunate to count 11 per cent of our population here in the North East as Indigenous, whose nations include the Cree, Ojibwe, Algonquin, and Odawa, to name a few.
We are working with our Indigenous health-care leaders to build a stronger system of care and improve the health and wellness of Indigenous Northerners. It’s no secret that they experience a lower health status compared to other Northerners with higher rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes, as well as addictions and mental health issues. Our Northeastern Ontario Health Strategy and Reconciliation Action Plan is a pivotal framework that guides our work.
The Action Plan acknowledges that the health status of Indigenous people has been directly affected by colonial policies—such as residential schools and the intergenerational trauma that has been inflicted. To walk the path of reconciliation, we have to begin by understanding and respecting Indigenous culture and history.
Our LHIN is grateful for the guiding work of our Local Aboriginal Health Committee who advises us on ways and means to improve health disparities for Indigenous people living in Northeastern Ontario. With their partnership and guidance, we are making advancements across our region and have delivered cultural safety training to more than 400 health-care professionals to date. Further, we are working in partnership to adopt an Indigenous cultural mindfulness approach to continue training our health-care professionals across the North East LHIN.
Through collaboration, education, and by emphasizing the importance of culture in providing care, we will close the gaps in health care and provide Indigenous Northerners with models of care that are both patient-centred and culturally appropriate.

Jeremy Stevenson is the CEO North East LHIN

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