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A new web portal is designed to increase the number of Aboriginal people choosing careers in health care.
On Oct. 30, Manitoba’s Office of Rural and Northern Health (ORNH) launched www.manitobaaboriginalhealthcareers.ca
Through the new tool and its corresponding "This Could Be You - Become a Healer" campaign, the ORNH hopes to address the shortage of health care workers in Manitoba and attract more Aboriginal people to the health care field.
Joining the ORNH in this initiative are representatives from seven Manitoba tribal councils, two First Nations communities, the five regional health authorities, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Health Canada.
ORNH administrative director Wayne Heide said the web portal addresses two major gaps to Aboriginal people entering the health care field.
"For one, there needs to be easier access to information," Heide said. "The consensus was there is a lot of good information out there around opportunities, careers are in the health care sector, educational paths, financial supports, and simple things like building a resume, child abuse and criminal record checks, so we said ‘OK, let’s develop a web portal that points people to that information that is already out there. It’s designed as a one-stop shop.
"The other gap that was identified was that of good promotional materials, materials that are specifically targeted at First Nations and Aboriginal people."
To address that gap, the ORNH and its partners identified 21 Aboriginal heath care workers in Manitoba, interviewing, photographing and capturing each of their stories to success on video.
The result is 21 poster profiles that will be distributed across Manitoba and 17 individual video success stories, as well as four compilation videos on the themes of education, success, overcoming obstacles and culture and spirituality. The videos, hosted by YouTube, can be viewed at www.manitobaaboriginalhealthcareers.ca
"You can see yourself in these role models we’ve identified and you can become something that both serves you in your career and your community," Heide said.
Dr. Lisa Monkman, a family physician in Dauphin (she’s currently on a sabbatical) and childhood resident of the North End and West End, is one of the inspiring individuals featured in the campaign. Monkman, 36, said she always knew she wanted to be a doctor and that education was a priority in her family.
"I always believed it was possible, but I was still the minority in my pursuit of my medical career and in my med school classes," Monkman said.
"In order to succeed you have to be culturally, socially and academically prepared, and financially as well. Those are huge barriers that people need to overcome if they want to do things like medicine."
Monkman said some of her Aboriginal patients have told her they’d also like to enter the health care field. She said it’s important to have successful people in your life that you can see yourself in.
"The first group of indigenous physicians graduated from the University of Manitoba in the early 80s. Those are people like Catherine Cook, Marlyn Cook, Judith Bartlett and Barry Lavallee. They were all great role models growing up," Monkman said.
Community journalist — The Times
Jared Story is the community journalist for The Times. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7206