The First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) is planning a three-hour virtual celebration for health workers and 2020 Certified First Nations Health Manager (CFNHM) graduates on Nov. 4.
“I hope everyone will join FNHMA on Nov. 4 from 1-4 p.m. EST on ihtoday.ca as we have a huge virtual celebration planned on that day for thanking all of the front-line health workers and essential workers that are keeping our nations safe right now,” says Marion Crowe, CEO at FNHMA. “What better time to say thank you than now for the job they do every day. We have some exciting folks who will be giving messages of inspiration, shout outs of thank you and support and we will have our 2020 graduates of the organization’s (CFNHM) designation as well as a leadership award.”
The virtual celebration will be broadcast live on the FNHMA, NationTalk, Indigenous Health Today and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) social media pages and websites.
“People that have been confirmed to join us on Nov. 4 are folks like Montreal Canadiens star Carey Price,” Crowe says. “Crystal Shawanda will be singing songs, National Chief Perry Bellegarde of course will be joining us and a whole host of other leaders who want to wish everyone their best wishes in keeping the nations protected.”
FNHMA has also launched a new series of weekly one-hour Virtual Town Hall meetings at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursdays until Dec. 3 at ihtoday.ca and fnma.ca as well as other sites. Gisele Kataquapit, health director at Peetabeck Health Services, was featured during the Oct. 1 broadcast.
“We’re back for season two and I wish we weren’t,” Crowe says. “But as we enter COVID-19 two plus now the flu, we had to come back and the response has been overwhelming. We’ve had 15,000-20,000 live viewers for that hour during some of the sessions. That just said to us that we needed to continue and that people want this type of information.”
Crowe says Valerie Gideon, associate deputy minister at Indigenous Service Canada, is scheduled to present on the third Thursday of every month. The Virtual Town Halls will also showcase First Nation health mangers and partners such as Thunderbird Partnership Foundation and First Peoples Wellness Circle. Updates will be provided on mental health, addictions and what it means to have borders potentially closed again.
“People can watch on ihtoday.ca the latest information on COVID-19 for credible and reliable sources,” Crowe says. “We have a whole bunch of diverse partners who are going to be providing details about what is happening. We have every single week Indigenous Service Canada giving us the updates from our government partners and funders.”
The second season of the Virtual Town Halls, beginning with the Sept. 24 broadcast, will be posted along with the past Virtual Town Halls, which ran from March 25-June 25, at ihtoday.ca/townhall/.
“It is gaining a lot of attention but the best part about it for me is we still have grassroots community engagement involved,” Crowe says. “For example we had on two front-line nurses yesterday during the Town Hall — we get to hear what it’s like to be in a pandemic in an isolated northern community, and that’s something that mainstream Canada has been informed about through these Town Halls. We weren’t expecting that education to happen, but non-Indigenous Canada is tuning in as well and becoming more aware.”
Crowe adds that FNHMA also developed an InfoPoint help desk for First Nations health managers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People can call us, they can e-mail us if they have questions about wanting information regarding COVID-19,” Crowe says. “We have over 2,000 different resources we’ve cultivated across Turtle Island and we’ll send it to people within 30 minutes.”
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