The Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC)* is pleased to announce that Gertie Mai Muise has joined the organization as a new Director of Strategy and Transformation. Gertie Mai is currently the Associate Director of the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) and has been seconded to AOHC to lead the Aboriginal Health Access Centres’ (AHACs’) response to the recent discussion paper, Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario.
“The paper signals that structural issues which have maintained inequities and disparities for Indigenous Peoples will be addressed. We’re very hopeful about working with the Ministry,” says Gertie Mai. As a first step she will be engaging AHAC leaders, as well as leadership from Aboriginal Community Health Centres and hospitals. “The goal is to speak with a unified voice on how to improve Ontario’s health system for Indigenous communities,” she says.Gertie Mai Muise is Mi’kmaq from Bay St. George, Western Newfoundland, and a member of the Qualipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation. Gertie Mai has been raised steeped in the decolonization of her people and the Indigenous “healing movement” across Turtle Island. For the past 25 years, she has lived and worked in Ontario focusing on the development of health and wellness capacity within Indigenous communities. Gertie Mai is particularly interested in sustaining and securing a respectful and meaningful place for traditional healers and Indigenous wellness models within the modern western health system. Blessed with teachings from traditional people from many Nations, she is committed to bringing this knowledge to the forefront of discussions on closing the gap in Indigenous health and addressing health inequities while redefining quality improvement to include Indigenous perspectives and experiences within the health and social systems.Gertie Mai has taken a collaborative leadership role in creating Ontario’s first online provincial Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program grounded in anti-racist pedagogy. She has held program coordination and management positions with the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Assembly of First Nations, Anishnawbe Health Toronto and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority. Her work has led to improved health policy, programs, service design and cross cultural/jurisdictional relationship management. She has also worked with Ontario government agencies to develop Indigenous health strategies and initiatives. Gertie Mai is completing a Masters of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. She has recently chaired the Provincial Health Aboriginal Leads Network and the National Committee for Aboriginal Health Service Standards Development with the Canadian Centre of Accreditation (CCA). She currently sits on the Governance Board of the newly formed Research Institute for Equity and Inclusion at Western University.
*Article written by the Association of Ontario Health Centres: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=e51320f5-69fd-4a28-ba2b-7a43b4907517&c=927efdb0-816a-11e4-a058-d4ae52754db0&ch=9282f550-816a-11e4-a058-d4ae52754db0#LETTER.BLOCK4