CHS Community Profile: Marissa Nakoochee

Get to know Marissa Nakoochee, Indigenous strategic initiatives officer in the College of Health Sciences.

21 May 2024

How do you describe your work to those who don’t work in your field?

My role supports the college, faculty and staff in incorporating Indigenous initiatives and perspectives into their work in a way that aligns with the strategic direction of the college, the university’s Braiding Past, Present and Future strategic plan and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action .

What excites you about your career?

As an advocate and educator for Indigenous health I am always excited to see the change we are working toward within the health sciences. I believe that collectively we can improve the experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students and staff within the health sciences while also contributing to accessible and equitable health care for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada.

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to relationship-building across the health science faculties. Those meaningful relationships are really the starting point for the work that we can do collaboratively going forward.

What comes to mind for you when you think of “leading with purpose”? How does your work help you lead with purpose?

To me, leading with purpose brings to mind being intentional about the things we are doing within the university, particularly when it comes to this work in the health sciences and the pathways laid out before us through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Action 18-24 (health).

I do believe we can make great strides moving forward together if we are intentional in our purpose and in our relation-building.

Do you have a role model at the U of A? How have they influenced you?

I look to and am grateful for the elders, knowledge keepers, Indigenous scholars, communities and people with lived experience who have shared their wisdom, energy and support to guide the work we are attempting to carry out in the university.