SARNIA & PETROLIA – June 21, 2021 – Bluewater Health marked National indigenous Peoples Day, or Solidarity Day, today with a smudge and prayer and unveiling its Truth & Reconciliation commitment.
“Bluewater Health is committed to improving indigenous health outcomes and experiences, and strengthening relations with the Indigenous community,” said Mike Lapaine, President & CEO. “While I have seen considerable gains in this area, we recognize we still have more work to do. Together this can happen – I am hopeful and committed. I am grateful to the local Indigenous communities for working with us, to shape the future of healthcare in Lambton County. Only through our partnership and our learnings can we create better Indigenous health outcomes.”
This visible commitment to truth and reconciliation is represented by portable posters and soon-to-be permanent plaques throughout the hospital, demonstrating the organization’s intentions to the Indigenous community and the broader Sarnia-Lambton community.
Over the past five years Bluewater Health has intentionally increased its focus on inclusivity and diversity from the most senior positions to the front line. The organization has: introduced multiple internal learning opportunities focused on anti-racism and preventing bias; created two indigenous navigator positions; and recruited several Board members of diverse backgrounds. Marking National Indigenous History Month this June, the hospital promoted an awareness event on June 1, as well as two virtual Paint Night events for staff and Professional Staff with Indigenous artist Moses Lunham, and shared Indigenous teachings from Elders Cecil Isaac and Liz Akiwenzie throughout the month. The teachings describe Indigenous approaches to health, through the Medicine Wheel and traditional healing.
The hospital recently announced it received funding for a new position to facilitate transitions of care for Indigenous patients, to complement the work of its Indigenous Patient Navigator. The hospital’s direction is guided by the Bluewater Health Indigenous Partnership, with membership from the three local First Nations.