A key role of the FNHA's Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) is that of Watchmon, and you can now learn all about it on the FNHA's website.
What is a Watchmon?
In its role as Watchmon, the OCMO monitors and acts as a guardian and champion of the health and wellness of First Nations people living in BC. The OCMO was inspired to develop this role by some coastal First Nations who have a Watchmon figure who protects and guides its people by standing guard, observing and warning of impending danger or challenges. This Watchmon is depicted in carvings and atop poles, where it can see everything below and around it.
“As Watchmon, the OCMO's key roles are to see and hear, by observing, monitoring and gathering information and data from various sources to capture the story of health and wellness of First Nations," said Dr. Evan Adams, the FNHA's Chief Medical Officer. “It is also to report by sharing the story of health and wellness of First Nations people in BC to improve health and wellness; and to guide and guard, by providing two-eyed seeing leadership that contributes to a strategic response at various levels."
A New Home For Public Health Reporting on fnha.ca
The new Watchmon page serves as a hub for public health reporting from the FNHA's OCMO.
On this page, you will find:
• Public health reports produced by the OCMO; • Background information on the office and role of the Watchmon; • Biographies for members of the FNHA medical team; and• Videos and other public health resources created by and featuring the OCMO team.
• Public health reports produced by the OCMO;
• Background information on the office and role of the Watchmon;
• Biographies for members of the FNHA medical team; and
• Videos and other public health resources created by and featuring the OCMO team.
Visit the new Watchmon page here.
The OCMO and the Provincial Health OfficerPrior to the establishment of the FNHA, BC's Provincial Health Officer (PHO) held the sole responsibility for reporting on the health of Indigenous peoples living in BC. Following the establishment of the OCMO, the FNHA and the Province of BC assumed shared responsibility for BC First Nations population health reporting. Since then, the two offices have formed a strong and unique partnership built on mutual respect and collaboration that reflects reconciliation in action. Together, we produce reports that provide evidence-informed analyses to support, inform, and catalyze action throughout the health system and other sectors, and to monitor and support the wellness of the BC First Nations population.
One such report is the First Nations Population Health and Wellness Agenda (PHWA), which is expected to be released by June 2020.
The PHWA focuses on the fact that self-determination, connection to land, and cultural wellness are deeply interconnected and form the foundation of First Nations health and wellness. A key theme is that when our systems, like health and education, are well nourished (e.g., through cultural safety) and the barriers (e.g., discriminatory policies and practices) are removed, the result is better health outcomes. This story is told through a set of 22 health indicators, which will be measured until 2030.
You can read the Executive Summary of the First Nations Population Health and Wellness Agenda here.