The FNHA continues knowledge exchange initiative with Nunavut Health visit



​A number of First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) executives and leaders recently played host to a knowledge exchange with the Nunavut Department of Health in Vancouver.

The visit, which took place on April 30, 2024, was the third knowledge exchange in recent months, which has included visits from Ontario's Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and representatives from New Zealand. In attendance from Nunavut was Megan Hunt, Deputy Minister, Dr. Francois De Wet, Territorial Chief of Staff, and Greg Babstock, Executive Director of Corporate Services.

“It was an exciting opportunity for FNHA and the Nunavut team to come together and share our journeys of delivering health care and servicing communities," said Monica McAlduff, Chief Nursing Officer with the FNHA. “It's always great to come together and learn in a meaningful way.  I am grateful for the opportunity to spend the day in such a good way."

Hunt previously worked for the FNHA as Regional Director in the Northern Region and as well as Executive Director of Primary Care. Several FNHA representatives said it was wonderful to reconnect with her in her new role as Deputy Minister. Both the FNHA and Nunavut led presentations on a variety of topics, including cultural safety and humility and the integration of traditional knowledge and values into service delivery models. They also discussed mutual challenges of delivering quality wholistic health care across the vast and difficult geography and environment of their respective jurisdictions, particularly when it comes to medical transportation.

“The Department of Health from Nunavut truly valued the opportunity to be hosted by the First Nations Health Authority for a Knowledge Exchange session," said Hunt, who added that the knowledge exchange reflects Inuit values of working together for a common cause. “It provided the ability to connect and share experiences with one another and learn about the wise approaches being taken in serving Indigenous populations in another part of Canada."

Other topics covered during the knowledge exchange include human resources, primary health care, First Nations Health Benefits/Non-Insured Health Benefits, and digital service enhancements.

“As we move forward to advance First Nations health and wellness services delivery, we need to continue to learn and compare ideas with organizations facing the same challenges and opportunities," said the FNHA's Stuart Bourhill, Vice-President, IMIT and Chief Information Officer. “There are many parallels among including connectivity and digital health. I look forward to further collaborative exchanges."

Nunavut Deputy Health Minister Megan Hunt presents gifts of seal skin ties.

The day included cultural components with an opening and closing by a Traditional Knowledge Keeper. Gifts were also exchanged between the two teams, with Nunavut giving the men ties made from seal skin. Seal skin has significant meaning to Inuit as it represents their deep connection to their ancestral lands, resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the harshest of environments. Women received a traditional Inuit tool called the ulu, which has many uses from skinning animals to building igloos.

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