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Tag Archive for: Indigenous People

A Personal Journey Influences a Future Path for PLANS

African Nova Scotians are a large racially visible group in Nova Scotia. The current workforce, including health care, is not representative of the diversity that exists in Nova Scotia. PLANS was established in 2013 with the goal to increase the number of African Nova Scotians within the fields of health, medicine and dentistry. PLANS works to achieve this goal through many recruitment and retention activities that aim to expose youth to the various health programs, assist with navigating the application process and provide support across their academic journey. Recently the PLANS program manager position has become a permanent position at Dalhousie University. This strengthens Dalhousie’s commitment to this program and the priorities for healthcare in the region.

The work of PLANS has been enhanced by the funding received from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, which has aided in the development of programs as well as bursaries and scholarships to reduce barriers and to increase the enrollment of Indigenous Atlantic Canadians and African Nova Scotian students who are engaged in the study of Health, Dentistry and Medicine.

How my journey informs my work with PLANS

I am very honored to be able to continue the very important work that PLANS has undertaken as the now permanent PLANS Program Manager. Having grown up in rural Nova Scotia and experiencing firsthand the barriers of navigating post-secondary, I know how important this program is. Lack of awareness of resources, limited knowledge of what programs are offered and the financial impact of attending post-secondary, especially in a new urban area can be overwhelming. Being the first in your family to attend post-secondary you don’t often have the supports or resources in place to be able to do so easily, and it can be a deterrent for many, including me. Attending university was not an immediate option for me following high school, and it required attending community college and working before I was able to pursue university myself. I reflect on the programs and initiatives that PLANS offers and the impact that it would have had on my own career progression if it had been in place at that time. This is what motivates me to ensure the work we do with PLANS has the largest reach possible to make sure we are capturing youth like myself who did not have the support or resources to navigate post-secondary. I believe that my educational and professional journey lends great insight into areas for future development. I have had the opportunity to work in varied roles within health care and to work with many others on interprofessional teams in various settings. I am able to draw upon those experiences to inform some of the programs and supports that are offered through PLANS. My experience working in community health systems as well as within the schools affords me better insight into how those areas can interact and how to best collaborate when looking to deliver programs for PLANS in the future.

The PLANS goal of creating a more diverse health care workforce has always been important to me. The ability for members of our African Nova Scotian community to feel represented and comfortable to receive health care services is important as is the importance of our youth to experience this. For our African Nova Scotian youth to be able to see themselves represented in various roles throughout the spectrum of health care (health educators, practitioners, those in leadership roles) is important to let the youth know that this career path is within their reach.

My vision for the upcoming year

The challenges of COVID-19 over the spring and into the summer has changed the way that PLANS has traditionally operated. A key component of the PLANS program has been our summer camps, which allow youth to experience the various health programs in a very experiential way. It gives them the opportunity to become familiar with some of the local universities, faculty and students, which is key to assisting potential students to feel comfortable. This year we have shifted how we engage with youth to an online virtual platform. This change affords us the option to reach more youth in ways that our traditional camps could not allow. In the upcoming year I look forward to the opportunities for growth and reinvention that this change has brought. My passion has always centered around providing opportunities to African Nova Scotian youth in rural areas, and my continued goal is to identify additional and innovative ways that PLANS can engage and support these youth. I am excited to continue the work of PLANS and look forward to many of the upcoming projects and collaborations PLANS has in the upcoming year. I am so thankful that I get to be a small part of a students’ journey and to be able to support their educational goals.

PLANS seeks to increase representation of African Nova Scotians in the health professions through recruitment and retention, community collaborations and partnerships to improve health outcomes within the African Nova Scotian community. PLANS offers programming, provides resources, and attends community and school events to provide health career support and preparation. Learn more here!

American Indigenous Business Leaders Look to Raise $150,000 to Create Care Packages for Elders in the Community

Johnson Scholarship Foundation, a supporter of the American Indigenous Business Leaders, is glad to share AIBL’s efforts to support the communities of Indigenous Peoples during this uncertain time.

Donations for Food, Cleaning Products for Seniors Accepted Now at AIBL.org

PHOENIX – Tribal communities have long looked to their elders to pass along wisdom, customs and traditions, and now, future business leaders from across the nation are banding together in support of their senior members.

American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL), a national nonprofit with more than 500 active chapters spanning 20 states, has a lengthy history of empowering and supporting Indigenous business students from across the United States. In the wake of recent events, the organization is temporarily shifting its focus from supporting students to supporting seniors, many of whom are suddenly facing exacerbated health issues, a lack of transportation to and from stores, medical services, and similar hardships.

To do so, AIBL has launched a campaign to create Senior Citizen Support Care Packages and is looking to raise $150,000 to put toward the effort. AIBL chapters from across the nation will then use the funds raised to create care packages valued at either $100 or $50 apiece, with $100 packages containing food and cleaning essentials (think paper products, baby wipes and other tough-to-find items), and $50 packages containing food, exclusively.

“In tribal communities, younger members have always looked to their elders as sources of respect and leadership – they have an endless amount of admiration for those who came before them and feel a responsibility to care for them,” said AIBL’s Board Chairman Dave Archambault Sr. “The AIBL community is one that recognizes the evolving needs of senior citizens and is ready to step up and help support those who have long done the same for their families and communities. We are asking people to help, knowing that good things will come to them for their generosity.”

Once care packages are ready for distribution, AIBL members will deliver them directly to the recipients’ doorsteps to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“Some of these recipients simply don’t have a way to get around, or have health issues at play that make it more difficult for them to visit public places like grocery stores,” said AIBL Executive Director Prairie Bighorn-Blount. “Others don’t have any local family members who can help. We’re here to step in and help ensure that no one goes without essential items during this time of crisis.”

AIBL is currently accepting donations of any size to help further the effort and reach even more senior citizens across Arizona and the nation. To donate to the cause or learn more about the organization, visit AIBL.org.