Webinar: A Response to In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health

Open to the Public
Dawn Thomas

About the Webinar:
After hearing reports of Indigenous-specific racism in emergency departments in BC, Health Minister Adrian Dix appointed independent investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead an investigation into these allegations, situated and examined within a broader context of Indigenous-specific racism in the provincial health care system. On November 30, 2020, the In Plain Sight report was released. The report found that Indigenous peoples in BC are exposed to widespread racism that often results in negative experiences at the point of care, inequitable medical treatment, physical harm and even death. In her talk, Ms. Thomas will highlight some of the 24 recommendations made in the report to address systemic racism in the health-care sector, share some of her own experiences with the health-care system – and discuss some interventions and strategies that have been effective.

Webinar Goals:

  1. Provide context on the In Plain Sight report and
  2. Acknowledge the good work underway while identifying areas for needed growth and impact at the point of ?care in health care services.
  3. Describe how everyone deserves the right to culturally safe health care service delivery, that is free of racism and discrimination
  4. Identify that the development of a culturally safe health care system is the responsibility of all of us.

Presenter's Bio:

Dawn Thomas joined Island Health in the newly established position of Executive Lead, Indigenous Health in June 2020. Dawn is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver Island. Her traditional Nuu-chah-nulth name is Aa ap waa iik which loosely translates to “The one who says the right words about chiefly business.”

In her role, Dawn is responsible for enabling and facilitating system transformation and service delivery improvements that improve the wellness, health, and care needs of all Indigenous peoples across the Island Health service area including First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and non- Status Indigenous peoples – both on and off reserve. Dawn engages with a wide range of senior internal and external partners to foster effective relationships, leadership and service advancement while ensuring an Indigenous lens is applied to the development, review and revision of Island Health’s organization values, governance, administration, and decision- making.

Dawn brings to Island Health more than 20 years experience with Indigenous children, families, communities and leadership. She has worked for the B.C. government at the Ministry of Children and Family Development and most recently at the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth. She holds a Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution, and a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care, both from the University of Victoria.