Indigenous Health Initiatives

Events

New Students Orientation Lunch

The University of Alberta welcomes new Aboriginal students from all faculties and programs with an annual luncheon. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet new and returning students. They will also be introduced to their respective programs of study.

New students have the option to be mentored by a returning student in their program. The mentor should be able to answer most questions, help locate classes and assist in the new student’s transition to university.


Medical Applicants Interview Luncheon

All medical school applicants go through an interview process. Aboriginal applicant interviews are scheduled each morning during Interview Week. At least one panel member addressing these applicants will be of Aboriginal descent.

After the interviews, Aboriginal applicants and interviewers are invited to a welcoming luncheon. Aboriginal students already enrolled in the Faculty, as well as former Aboriginal graduates, are also invited to attend. The lunch is hosted by staff of Indigenous Health Initiatives (IHI) Program and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

The luncheon gives the applicants an opportunity to meet their potential peers and mentors. The relaxed social setting helps Aboriginal students learn more about the Faculty, curriculum and IHI Program.

Attendees from previous years have said that the luncheon eased their transition into university. Gaining familiarity with the campus and seeing familiar faces during the first few weeks of medical school helped them settle into their new environment.


Graduate Awards Luncheon

This annual luncheon celebrates the success of Aboriginal students. Faculty members, Aboriginal graduates, recipients of the Darcy Tailfeathers Awards and the students’ families are all invited to celebrate their academic accomplishments.

This luncheon tradition was initiated in 1989, when Darcy Tailfeather’s family was awarded his posthumous degree. Darcy Tailfeathers was the first Aboriginal medical student to attend the University of Alberta. He was killed in an automobile accident during his third year of study. Members of the Tailfeathers family attend the luncheon each year.


Undergraduate Luncheon

During this biennial luncheon, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry celebrates the academic success of its Aboriginal students. Recipients of the Tom Wegmann Award will be given their prize at this time.

Faculty members, Aboriginal students and their families are all invited to join. Dr Tom Wegmann’s family is warmly welcomed as well.


Health Horizon Days

Health Horizon Days brings Aboriginal youth to the University of Alberta to discuss careers in medicine. Attendees will learn more about medical careers through group discussion and workshops. Youth will also have the opportunity to spend time with Aboriginal role models from the medical laboratory sciences, medicine and dentistry programs.

At the Health Horizon Days in October 2011, youth took part in one of three workshops hosted by dedicated physicians, Faculty members and Aboriginal students. The first was crime scene investigation in a medical sciences lab. “Life as a Surgeon” exposed them to an operating room at the U of A Hospital. They also enjoyed a variety of hands-on learning projects in a new dental lab at the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy.

The main goals of this event are:

  1. Provide students and chaperons with a positive and culturally appropriate experience
  2. Improve their understanding of their community’s health
  3. Improve their understanding of the under-representation of Aboriginals in health care.
  4. Develop capacity in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities by investing in youth.

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry strongly encourages Aboriginal youth to pursue health-care careers. Aboriginals are under-represented in every level of the health sector—hospitals, clinics and laboratories; policy-making divisions also lack representation. This is something the University of Alberta hopes to help reverse.

The next Health Horizon Day is scheduled for October 2016.

Health Horizon Days are a collaborative effort from the IHI program and Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Treaty 8.