Alberta’s government is proposing historical funding to strengthen the province’s primary health care system.
In an announcement on Tuesday February 21st, Minister of Health Jason Copping introduced a portion of the 2023 Alberta budget that is slated to include a record $2 billion dollars towards improving Indigenous and Alberta primary health care. The funding would be used for primary care networks, family doctors, as well as funding to strengthen and modernize primary health care, to name a few.
This announcements includes First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples so they have equitable access to culturally safe and appropriate primary health care services.
“Indigenous people today still encounter many challenges when it comes to equitable access to quality health care. As CEO of Siksika Health Services and a Siksika Nation member myself, I know that the right solutions come from within the community. These investments are an important step towards ensuring that culturally safe, primary health care services are designed and delivered by Indigenous Peoples.”Naa Taoyi Piita Wo Taan, Dr. Tyler White, CEO, Siksika Health Services and chair, MAPS Indigenous panel
The record level of funding proposed includes $243 million in new funding over three years to strengthen the primary care system throughout the province. As part of this new funding, Budget 2023, if passed, would provide $125 million for implementing recommendations from MAPS, $40 million to support PCNs under the AMA agreement and $27 million to PCNs to provide for an expected increase of patients attached to a primary care provider. In addition, $12 million will support IT systems designed to improve the continuity of care across the province.
The new funding for MAPS will help implement recommendations from MAPS strategic advisory and Indigenous panels, including a series of strategic activities with tangible outcomes. These actions will begin to address some of the long-standing challenges faced by all Albertans, including Indigenous Peoples when trying to access primary health care in Alberta.
“I am proud of the strategic advisory panel’s work to identify early opportunities to invest in Alberta’s primary health care system. These measures represent an important bridge to stabilize the primary health care system, support health care workers and ultimately provide better care to Albertans.”Dr. Janet Reynolds, co-chair, MAPS strategic advisory panel
Minister Copping expects the panels will present their completed reports this spring. In the meantime, the recommendations identifying the early investment opportunities will be posted on the MAPS website.
The final reports from the MAPS panels will serve as the framework for the future delivery of primary care in Alberta. With a renewed focus on Albertans’ primary care, the province’s overall health system will be less dependent on emergency care and hospitalizations and provide the care Albertans need when and where they need it. This focus on primary care will also bring about better health outcomes for Albertans.
Siksika Health Services now offers Siksika Nation members with a program to develop stress and anxiety resiliency.
Stress and anxiety have a major impact on our health and well-being. This program teaches simple techniques that helps people connect with their heart to manage stress and learn to regulate emotions.
Most people experience some feelings of stress and anxiety at some point, and that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing. However, unmanaged stress and anxiety can start to interfere with your daily life and take a toll on your mental and physical health including:
Our Mental Health biofeedback specialist will work with clients to learn more about their daily life and establish goals of treatment. They will also help client to navigate and recognize any feelings or attitudes they would like to change and replace with new attitude.
If you are experiencing increase stress and anxiety symptoms in your life, we encourage you to book an appointment. Contact Maria Red Gun at 403-734-5660 to get started.
Siksika Health Services welcomed Dr. Deena Hinshaw to the Nation for a meeting with COVID-19 response staff and a Blackfoot naming ceremony on February 15.
Staff who were part of the Siksika Public Health COVID-19 response had the opportunity to share their stories and thank Dr. Hinshaw for her role in leading the province of Alberta’s public health response during the pandemic.
In recognition of her selfless role as Chief Medical Officer for Alberta, Siksika Health Services elected to honour Dr. Hinshaw with a Blackfoot naming ceremony.
Siksika Elder Clement Leather and Indian Residential School program coordinator Leanne Sleigh led the traditional ceremony, where she was given the name, Ksiistsikom’aakii which means Thunder Woman.
In Siksikaitsitapi culture, the sound of Thunder brings the beginning of summer, where plants and life grow, and people are brought together for the Akokatssin— the most important times of the year for us.
We thank Dr. Hinshaw and everyone who did their part in protecting our community and Elders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho, PhD, R.Psych
Our programs are specifically designed for reconnecting the mind and body of our clients, taking trauma damaged neurologically disconnected clients, and bringing them back online again. Each of our programs are intentionally designed for this purpose, because “What fires together, wires together.” Boxing, martial arts, capoeira, yoga, and dancing are modified in our gym for reconnection of the mind and body. Although all the positive benefits of working out in the gym are still a real potential, our emphasis is drastically different, focusing on calming down the amygdala and igniting the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. The aim of the gym is less biological and more neurological.
The brain comes online in three distinct phases and in this order: first is the emotional brain, then the mapping brain, and finally the rational brain. In trauma, the brain goes offline in reverse order: first the rational brain, then the mapping brain, until people are left with only the emotional brain. When trauma reduces a person to the emotional brain, for an extended period of time, their threat detection system becomes overly sensitive. False signals misinterpret what is harmless as a threat. Trauma damage expresses itself in the inability to regulate and restore a person from a state of false threat to a state of peace.
Our gym is best understood as an intervention tool for mental health and affect regulation, but often gets mistaken for a run of the mill place for exercising. The long-held tradition of gym culture in the greater society and media makes our use as an intervention tool difficult to break free from the stereotype. Some common misconceptions reported of the purpose of our gym is to associate boxing with releasing pent-up frustrations, or as a tool to teach self-defense, or to associate a gym-setting with current societal trends of body shaping fads, etc. Using a gym as an intervention tool is a very new and an extremely effective concept. Although there are real physical benefits from practicing a gym culture, our emphasis is to restore the mind and body into rhythm; to prepare the individual for active reciprocity, first within themselves and their own body, then with others immediately around them, and finally into the greater society within which they live; something extremely difficult for people who suffer from trauma.
The way our gym works to reconnect the mind and body of our clients is by recruiting the emotional mind, mapping mind and rational mind to improve recovery time from threat detection to a state of rest, while remaining fully aware. We do this through our different programs, placing participants in conditions of an active and agitated state, and then restoring them to a state of calm and rest. This is done through modifications customized to fit the client’s ability and capacity. Regular activity of activation and relaxation on a repeated basis increases what is known as heart rate variability, giving the client the tool needed to regulate themselves, restoring calm, and providing a state of peace, thus allowing the mapping mind and rational mind to be restored. We have all experienced a fright in the night, only to find out that it was a misread of a shadow that looked like a person, or a stray cat or dog. In a healthy person, once they discover that there’s no real threat, their parasympathetic system kicks in to immediately calm down. However, a person suffering from trauma remains on high threat alert and cannot seem to calm down, remaining agitated and worried, despite the fact that the threat no longer exists. Their sympathetic nervous system remains on high alert long after the fright in the night is dispelled. The objective of trauma recovery is to get clients back into the rational mind and keep them there for as long as possible, if not indefinitely. In the rational mind they can calm down the threat response and generate a sensation of peace once again. That’s what our programs are designed to accomplish.”
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta visited Siksika Nation for a historic meeting with Siksika Nation and Siksika Health Services leadership, to expand upon their growing partnership, discuss potential solutions related to discrimination in healthcare, and share stories of lived experiences of racism and discrimination.
Who: College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta Council & Staff
Siksika Nation Leadership: Chief Ouray Crowfoot & Council Representatives
Siksika Health Services Leadership: CEO, Dr. Tyler White & Team Leads
What: Inaugural visit of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta to a First Nation
When: Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Where: Siksika Piiksapi Memorial Arbor, Siksika First Nation
Address: Highway 901, Siksika Nation, Alberta
GPS: 50.849562684859876, -113.11434868405672
The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) is on a journey of increasing their awareness and learning about Truth and Reconciliation in an effort to create culturally safe care spaces and improve health outcomes for Indigenous peoples. CPSA has been intentional about connecting with influential Indigenous physicians and community leaders that they can learn from and partner with as they build a framework together to promote culturally competent care across the province of Alberta.
In 2021 the CPSA welcomed Dr. Tyler White, Siksika Health Services’ CEO to the CPSA Council as an appointed public member. CPSA Council is comprised of elected regulated members and appointed public members. In 2021, the Albertan voice became more prominent on CPSA Council, as they moved to an equal composition of elected regulated members and appointed public members.
On May 3, 2022, Siksika Health Services (SHS) hosted CPSA in a day of culture sharing and the continued effort to lay down the foundation of a long relationship that hopes to build our healthcare system for all. The day featured stories and presentations from SHS, Siksika Chief & Council, and CPSA delegates. Anti-Indigenous racism, Siksika’s COVID-19 response, and potential solutions around discrimination in healthcare served as working themes.
The day wrapped with CPSA members touring Siksika Nation’s Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park.
“CPSA is humbled and honoured to be invited to Siksika Nation today. This special gathering will further strengthen our relationship with Siksika Health Services, and we look forward to learning from the experience to enhance equity in health care.” ~ Stacey Strilchuk, CPSA Council President
“We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in this very special and meaningful day. Our goal at CPSA is not just to listen, but to take action and hold ourselves accountable for our past and present role in addressing racism and discrimination in our healthcare system.” ~ Scott McLeod, CPSA Registrar
“We’re not looking for special treatment, we’re just looking for equitable treatment.” ~ Chief Ouray Crowfoot, Siksika Nation
“Who is being held accountable? Who will stand up for those who are being victimized? For those who are being mistreated? The answer is us. Siksika Nation.” ~ Councillor Sam Crowfoot on Indigenous peoples’ healthcare
In the coming months, CPSA and Siksika Health Services will continue to work together towards addressing and eliminating systemic racism within the healthcare system in Alberta, where it exists, and ensuring that Siksika members and all Indigenous peoples are provided culturally safe healthcare services.
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For information contact:
Ryan Running Rabbit
Communications, Siksika Health Services
Acting Director of Communications,
College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta
Reflections on the Every Child Matters Game ‘Orange Shirt’
By Siksika Health Services Staff
On March 27th, 2022, Siksika Health Services and The Calgary Hitmen came together to host the 2nd Every Child Matters theme game, and the Saddledome was filled with orange shirts, hoodies, and jerseys.
Now like anything, there is a story behind all of this, many, all woven together to bring magic and awareness to the event and cause. The orange “shirt” that the Calgary Hitmen players and hundreds of fans donned was bred from 12 original concepts all based on the famous orange shirt. This jersey was created by Jacob Alexis and Richard Running Rabbit and features Blackfoot artwork and the phrase “Every Child Matters”.
“It’s like when you see dancers coming in for [a powwow] grand entry: the style, the boldness. Everything is placed just so,” Alexis speaks about his creation of the jersey. A truly special opportunity for artists to bring awareness to the cause and origin of orange shirt day.
“It’s surreal, I never thought the orange shirt movement would be what it is now,” remarked Phyllis Webstad when asked her thoughts at the pre-game press conference. None of this would be possible without Webstad and the Orange Shirt Society if she didn’t have the courage to tell her story countless times. “Orange Shirt Day was created to have conversations about all aspects of residential schools,” she said.
It is hard to look at the jersey and full kit and not feel something. The partnership between Siksika Health Services and The Calgary Hitmen has always been for everyone. “I’m so proud of the jersey and what the game has turned into, all aspects, I always say it’s more than just a hockey game,” Siksika Health CEO, Dr. Tyler White.
Where you can get a jersey
Jerseys can be ordered at the Calgary Hitmen store online (link: https://www.flamesport.com/collections/all-hitmen/products/hitmen-every-child-matters-jersey) and game worn jerseys are up for auction.
A portion of all proceeds from jersey sales will go towards supporting minor sports on Siksika Nation.
Orange Shirt Day
“I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school! When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! Orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying, and no one cared” – Phyllis Webstad on her first day experience at residential school.
The legacy of the orange shirt is about generating awareness, and keeping the conversation going. We invite you to join us in continuing the conversation, awareness, and education about Orange Shirt Day and it’s important meaning to Indigenous peoples in Canada, and all people.