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Message from the President
Aaniin Boozhoo, Tan’si, Greetings from IPAC,

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Staff we hope you enjoyed your summer and had time to enjoy the beauty of our lands and waters that make up Turtle Island. I was so grateful to spend time on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish: Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations at PRIDoC 2022 this July. I was also able to reconnect with my cousin after 30 years. In July and August, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the lake, making memories, in the beautiful Canadian Shield in Northwestern Ontario, with my son, Riddick.

The period between summer and fall was a huge transition – more specifically the end of PRIDoC, and with that, IPAC’s election of a new Board of Directors. PRIDoC was such a memorable occasion and it was filled with Spirit, Love, Friendship and Support. I can’t think of a better way to start off my new role with IPAC as President and I am so grateful to be working alongside Dr Mike Dumont (Vice President), Dr Alexa Lesperance (Secretary), Dr Rebekah Eatmon (Treasurer), Dr Ojistoh Horn (Physician Director), Dr Randi George (Resident Director), and Laney Beaulieu (Student Director). They are all so dedicated and passionate about working to improve the health outcomes for our families and communities and improving the experience of our students, residents and physicians learning and working within the health system. I also want to acknowledge and honor outgoing board members Dr Nel Wieman, Dr Evan Adams, Dr Sarah Funnell and Dr. Josha Rafael for their years of leadership and mentorship to IPAC.

As we just had our Fall Equinox last week, I reflect on the teachings I have learned about this season. Fall teaches us about balance where, on September 22, the day and night fall into balance. Fall is a beautiful gift from Gitche Manitou (Creator) that teaches us about change. Change can be difficult as we transition from summer to winter, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, but nature teaches us that change is inevitable. If we look at the trees in the fall we see the beautiful colors of their leaves but the tree must let go of its beauty as it no longer needs its leaves – it knows to let go of things that will weigh it down in the winter. For the leaves, they have a new purpose, to provide shelter and warmth for those little creatures on the ground. In the spring, those leaves will provide nutrients for the earth to help support new life. For me, this is a time to reflect on those things in my life that weigh me down and no longer serve me and what things need nurturing to grow. I look forward to warm bonfires and cozy nights inside snuggling with my son watching movies. I look forward to nurturing relationships with friends, family and colleagues that have been challenged through the COVID-19 pandemic. I also look forward to the new relationships that will grow through this new role with IPAC.

I want to give a special thank-you to our Mentorship Manager Sara Ayaruak-Thomson in the successful launch of this seasons’ IPAC Mentorship Gatherings. The gatherings started in September and will continue throughout October. I was able to be a part of the gathering that occurred in Winnipeg, at the University of Manitoba. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with our medical students and sharing my own experience as an Indigenous physician. It was also an opportunity to connect with Indigenous Colleagues in Manitoba and to listen and learn from them. We often get busy in our lives and don’t have enough opportunities to connect and support each other in this way.

I am so proud of our Indigenous Medical Students who have established the Indigenous Medical Student Association of Canada (IMSAC). They are showing exemplary leadership early in their careers and providing safe space for our students. They were able to hold their strategic planning weekend in Manitoba that had coincided with the mentorship event.

I would also like to congratulate Dr. Alika Lafontaine on his new Presidency of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Alika Lafontaine is the first Indigenous president in the CMA’s 155-year history.

To close, I want to reflect on the various events that have occurred in the past month: September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and October 4: National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. These both happened right after the two-year anniversary of Joyce Eshaquan’s tragic death. I want to honor her life, and all of our sisters, mothers and aunties who are missing or murdered, and all those little ones who never made it home. We will remember them in the work we do to end Anti-Indigenous Racism within and outside of the healthcare system.

Chi Miigwetch,

Dr. Mandy Buss, President
Randi is First Nations (Wet’suwet’en), Gitdumden (Bear Clan) & belongs to Kaiyex Weniits (House in the Middle of Many). She is also Metis on her Mother’s side, with roots to Meadow Lake Saskatchewan. Randi shares more about her journey as a third year resident in the Psychiatry Program at the University of British Columbia as well as her work with Indigenous community.
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Bailey Brant is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte who just started the University of Toronto’s Medicine Program. Bailey shares about his experience attending PRIDoC 2022 and how it was unparalleled in its ability to make him feel welcomed into the profession of medicine as an Indigenous person.
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MD Financial Management provides financial products and services, the MD Family of Funds and investment counselling services through the MD Group of Companies. For a detailed list of these companies, visit md.ca.
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Message from the Director
Welcome to our IPAC Fall Newsletter. I hope you all had some time to relax and reconnect over the summer months. I had the pleasure of returning to Newfoundland and hiking the breathtaking coastlines. It’s such a magical place.
As everyone can imagine, the amount of planning and preparation leading up to PRIDoC was immense and its momentum carried through until the last day of our gathering. IPAC’s Board and Staff have since been able to carry both the knowledge of a job well done and its valued moments through a transition back to IPAC’s mission and mandate – the support of our Indigenous physicians and medical learners as well as our responsibility to help improve the health of our Indigenous communities and peoples as a whole.

After several years of service, we thanked outgoing board members Dr Nel Wieman, Dr Evan Adams, Dr Sarah Funnell and Josha Rafael for their endless contributions to IPAC. A warm welcome and welcome back to our 2022/23 board members Dr Mandy Buss, Dr Mike Dumont, Dr Alexa Lesperance, Dr Rebekah Eatmon, Dr Ojistoh Horn, Dr Randi George, and medical student Laney Beaulieu. You can get to know them all . I am honoured to serve and support such an exceptional group of Indigenous medical leaders. 

This September saw the successful launch of our in-person IPAC Mentorship Gatherings. Our first event was at the University of Manitoba and coincided with the Indigenous Medical Student Association of Canada (IMSAC) strategic planning weekend. It was lovely to see our Manitoba family as well as the IMSAC circle members. We were honoured to listen and learn. During the month of September we continued to bring events to medical schools in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Our Membership and Mentorship Manager, Sara Ayaruak-Thomson, will be visiting the medical schools in Alberta and Saskatchewan in October and we plan to host an event for UBC coinciding with their annual spring Indigenous Physicians Network Gathering. 

Our National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education (NCIME) Working Group on Physician Wellness and Joy in Work continues to make great strides in their work and met in person at PRIDoC. Our IPAC Administrative Manager, Ariel John, has joined the working group and is serving as project manager. With our change in leadership, Dr Mike Dumont will now serve as Chair of this working group and Dr Mandy Buss as chair of the working group in Anti-Indigenous Racism. 

This fall I have been able to return to my role, representing IPAC in our work to end anti-Indigenous racism in medical education and healthcare systems in Canada. As a member of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) Anti-Racism Advisory circle, I am part of a team of dedicated advocates from Indigneous health organizations like The Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association (CINA) and the Indigenous Dental Association of Canada (IDAC). We are stronger together.

In closing, I want to take a moment to recognize and honour the life and death of Joyce Echaquan. September 28 marks the second anniversary of the tragic day that Joyce died while enduring racists slurs by healthcare workers who were supposed to be caring for her. May we remember Joyce and her family as we work to end anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s healthcare systems. 


Melanie Osmack, Acting Director
Upcoming Events
The IPAC Mentorship Circle
Join IPAC in the following locations as we gather to share dinner followed by an evening of mentorship. You do not need to be a member to attend & we will gladly provide info on who we are at IPAC, what we do & how you can benefit from joining us. Connect with fellow Indigenous medical learners & physicians from the area to grow your network & share the spirit of medical education.

Calgary, AB
Thursday, October 13, 2022 from 5pm to 8:30pm, University of Calgary. Register 

Edmonton, AB
Friday, October 14, 2022 from 5pm to 8:30pm, University of Alberta. Register 
Connect with fellow Indigenous medical student, resident & physician members today to ask questions or seek guidance as you continue your medical education journey or career! More information found 
Become a Member
Whether you are an Indigenous medical student, resident, physician, or an ally looking to support our work, we invite you to become a member at:

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