Maamwesying OHT and Health Sciences North Sign Collaboration Agreement

Grace Swain from the Maamwesying Ontario Health Team and David McNeil​, President and CEO of Health Sciences North and the Health Sciences North Research Institute

Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services Inc., as a core partner of the Maamwesying Ontario Health Team and Health Sciences North, announced the signing of a collaboration agreement on October 23, 2023, ​aimed at transforming health care for Indigenous peoples by embracing their unique cultural knowledge, traditional practices, medicines and improving access and awareness of Indigenous Health Services available in the North East Region.

The Maamwesying Ontario Health Team was announced in October of 2022 to seamlessly integrate health care services for clients in the communities of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Sagamok Anishnawbek, Serpent River First Nation, Mississauga First Nation, Thessalon First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, Michipicoten First Nation, Chapleau Cree First Nation, Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation, and Brunswick House First Nation, as well as the urban Indigenous population in Sault Ste. Marie.

“With this agreement, Maamwesying and HSN, the regional hospital for Northeastern Ontario, recognize the importance of Indigenous-driven health systems that are community designed, innovative and culturally safe. This agreement reaffirms the value of Indigenous peoples and their right to self-determination within the healthcare system. Together, we recognize the collective long-term goal of creating a healthcare system free from racism and discrimination,” said Carol Eshkakogan, Chief Executive Officer for Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services Inc./ Chair of the Maamwesying Ontario Health Team Leadership Council.

The collaboration between Maamwesying and HSN is driven by a vision to provide coordinated and seamless health care, ensuring optimal outcomes for Indigenous patients and clients. This collaboration aims to improve access to quality care to improve outcomes, enhance patient care that is equitable and culturally safe, while actively involving Indigenous health leaders and advisors in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health services to enhance the satisfaction and experience for patients, caregivers and providers.

“Maamwesying means the act of working as one in Ojibway and on behalf of our organization, I’m honoured to sign this agreement. The objectives of this partnership include supporting the acknowledgement of traditional and cultural practices of Indigenous patients and families, implementing anti-racism and harassment policies and delivering cultural safety training for health teams. We know we have more work to do on our journey to be socially accountable and this agreement is a huge step in the right direction,” said David McNeil, President and CEO of HSN and the Health Sciences North Research Institute.

“This collaboration sets a positive precedent for the future of heal​thcare in Indigenous communities. It focuses on ensuring that care is culturally sensitive, patient centred and equitable. It recognizes the importance of empowering Indigenous communities to shape their healthcare systems. I’m proud to see this agreement signed and it signifies a promising future for healthcare services and care for Indigenous Communities,” added Deanna Jones Keeshig, Director of Indigenous Health at HSN.

By signing this agreement, Maamwesying and HSN are committing to work together to create culturally safe spaces within the healthcare system and improve care transitions so Indigenous patients have the support they need to access the right care at the right time.