Tell us about yourself:
Aanii! Hello! My name is Stephanie and I am Anishinaabe from Lac Seul First Nation. I grew up in Brantford, ON with little connection to my culture, so when I started at my undergrad at the University of Waterloo, I was thankful that the Indigenous Student Centre on campus reached out and welcomed me like family. It was there that I developed a deeper understanding of Indigenous health and wellbeing, and was motivated to improve those health disparities. A lot of the work that I’ve done so far has been at the community level, such as running STEM summer camps for Indigenous youth, helping out with weekly soup and bannock lunches, teaching beading, and singing and drumming at local events. I believe that connecting and engaging with local Indigenous communities is paramount for creating mutual understanding and, ultimately, change. My goal as a future physician is to work with Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario using a collaborative, holistic approach towards medicine, and also advocate for Indigenous communities on a provincial and national scale to improve the healthcare system. I look forward to meeting more of you as the year goes on and learning together!
Tell us about yourself:
Hello! I am Ellissa, a bubble tea enthusiast from the rainy city of Vancouver. Four years ago, I moved to Toronto to attend the University of Toronto, where I encountered incredible professors and clinicians who spoke about their experiences with the highs and lows of medicine. I saw the impact they made on countless individuals, and wanted to do the same. As such, I exposed myself to more clinical scenarios by volunteering at hospitals and dipping my toes into research. These experiences taught me a lot about myself and the nuances of medical practice, and continued to propel me towards medicine.
It was also in Toronto that I developed one of my greatest passions: dragon boat paddling. Dragon boat taught me how to work hard; the dedication, discipline, and time management that were required to excel in this sport were the same skills that were required to excel in any other aspect in life. I am constantly humbled by my teammates and coaches, who have become some of my closest friends and mentors. They make the gruesome training bearable, and I have no doubt that they—along with the sport itself—will push me to become the best physician I can be.
Why do you want to be a VP IH?
I am aware of the great privilege I have been extended as a medical student, and that I will be given as a physician. Knowing that, and knowing about the great health inequities faced by Indigenous individuals, I wish to address these discrepancies and injustices. I would like to challenge myself to become a more engaged advocate for disadvantaged individuals.
Talking to my peers, I sense that although most individuals are supportive of the general idea of reducing health disparities experienced by Indigenous peoples, concrete actions towards that goal are usually much harder to develop and thus not implemented. As VP IH, I would work with my partner to stay up to date with Indigenous Health so that we can best advise, communicate, and implement strategies to minimize and reduce health inequities faced by Indigenous peoples. I would work to transform ideas into actionable steps and procedures, while being open to receiving and actively seeking out ways to improve my approach along the way.
I would be honoured to be given the opportunity to help reduce health disparities for Indigenous individuals, as this would not only help others but also push me to become a better version of myself.