Niagara Health has made it a priority to better support Indigenous patients and their families. This includes the addition of three new roles dedicated to planning and implementing practices and services that promote the culturally safe environment and delivery of high-quality healthcare our teams strive to achieve every day.
The new roles are: Manager, Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation, and two Indigenous Relations Specialists. They will work together with Niagara Health’s executive leaders to identify and act on priorities that ensure inclusive, equitable and compassionate healthcare journeys for Indigenous patients and their families.
Charity Beland, Manager of Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation, looks forward to helping change the narrative around accessing healthcare for Indigenous people.
“We’ll be able to change the stigma and fear of accessing care just by being present,” Charity says. “We’re able to listen in a different way, just by having that lens.”
Meet the team
Charity Beland, Manager, Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation
As Manager of Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation, Charity will be a key partner in our collective efforts to build a culture of inclusion, equity and compassion, and lead efforts to enhance the Indigenous experience at Niagara Health. That includes leading the development, implementation and evaluation of Indigenous patient experiences and engagement activities with the aim of identifying and addressing existing barriers for Indigenous people accessing services at Niagara Health. She will also provide leadership and education on principles of Indigenous cultural safety, patient experience and community engagement to ensure clinical services and physical spaces at Niagara Health are accessible to Indigenous patients, their families and team members.
Jolene Courchene and Bethany Williams, Indigenous Relations Specialists
As Indigenous Relations Specialists, Jolene and Bethany will provide personalized support and navigation for Indigenous patients and their families accessing services at Niagara Health. They will support a safe, respectful and compassionate care journey for Indigenous patients, their families and caregivers, and members of their care teams by assisting with access to traditional healing practices when requested. Jolene and Bethany will also facilitate patients’ transitions from the hospital to their next care destination by strengthening relationships with community partners and Indigenous healthcare providers.
Photo caption: From left, Jolene Courchene, Charity Beland and Bethany Williams are part of Niagara Health's Indigenous Health Services team. They are seen here wearing ribbon skirts, which are worn for ceremony and special events. These skirts are a symbol of pride and resilience, and strength for those wearing them. They can have significant meaning for the owner, such as clan, colour, nation and type of ceremony.