Diabetes Care and Management in Indigenous Populations in Canada

Diabetes Care and Management in Indigenous Populations in Canada: Key People

Keynote Speaker

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph O.B.C.
Chief, Gwawaenuk First Nation; Ambassador, Reconciliation Canada

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., is a true peace-builder whose life and work are examples of his personal commitment. A Hereditary Chief of the Gwawa'enuxw First Nation, Chief Joseph has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism at home and abroad. His insights into the destructive impacts these forces can have on peoples’ lives, families and cultures were shaped by his experience with the Canadian Indian Residential School system. As one of the last few speakers of the Kwakwaka'wakw language, Chief Joseph is an eloquent and inspiring Ceremonial House Speaker. He shares his knowledge and wisdom in the Big House and as a Language Speaker with the University of British Columbia, an internationally recognized art curator and as co-author of “Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast”.

In 2003, Chief Joseph received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of British Columbia for his distinguished achievements in serving BC and Canada. In 2012, he was presented The Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. In 2014, he received the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology for his work in reconciliation and renewing relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. In 2015, Chief Joseph was presented a Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Award for Collaboration and Partnerships and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province of British Columbia’s highest honour. In 2016, Chief Joseph received the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award and the Inspire Lifetime Achievement Award. Chief Joseph is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and is an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As Chairman of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation and Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation with the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IFWP), Chief Joseph has sat with the leaders of South Africa, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and Washington, DC to learn from and share his understanding of faith, hope, healing, and reconciliation.

Overview Presentation and Opening Remarks

John Sproule
Senior Policy Director, Institute of Health Economics (IHE)

John Sproule has been the IHE's Senior Policy Director since 2007. During his time at IHE John has been seconded to work for the Alberta government in both the Ministers Office for 2012-13 and the Deputy Ministers Office in 2015/16. He has also, while at IHE, worked part time for Alberta Innovates Health Solutions in support of provincial health innovation strategies. Prior to joining the IHE he served as Vice-President of Strategic Planning and Community Engagement at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. From 1998 to 2005 he worked with Merck Frosst Canada Ltd in health and industry policy planning (including secondment to Merck Sharpe & Dohme Australia). Before that John worked with the Alberta government as Director of the Office of the Deputy Minister of Health, working with the Ministry from 1987 to 1998 and managing significant policy and legislative changes in the Alberta health system. He has served on many federal/provincial committees in health and as a Board member with a number of health policy academic associations including Canadian Health Economics Research Association, Canadian Association for Population Therapeutics, Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research, Health Technology Assessment International (host agency rep), and served as the Chair of the Pacific Northwest Economic Regional Health Care Working Group. John has a Master of Public Management from the University of Alberta.

First Nations Health Transformation Agenda

Addie Pryce
Director of Health, Assembly of First Nations

Addie joined the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) as the Director of Health in June 2017. Addie has worked exclusively in First Nations programming throughout her career at the community level, and with regional and national organizations. Over the last four years, Addie worked with the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). Her work with FNIGC was preceded by a 32-year career with the Federal Government, including in various capacities with FNIHB. Addie is from the Nisga’a Nation of Gingolx, located on the north coast of BC.


Hesham Nabih
President, HN Consultants Ltd.

Hesham Nabih has 30 years of experience developing environmental and health management solutions for government agencies and major industries. Among his projects are Live Well with Diabetes, a web based diabetes education program, Virtual Diabetes Centre, and Diabetes and My Nation (a First Nation community based diabetes prevention and management program).

Amelia Tekwatonti McGregor
Elder and Community Advisory Board Member, Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project

Amelia Tekwatonti McGregor is a Kanien'kehá:ka woman who was born, raised, and always lived in the community of Kahnawà:ke. She is from the Bear Clan Family. She sees herself as energetic, considers herself to have common sense as well as a strong sense of humour. She is an only child and so she decided at a very young age to have more than one child. She & her husband Joseph have been married for over fifty years and are working on the next fifty!! They are the proud parents of five daughters who gave them six granddaughters and four grandsons, one of which is a foster child who has just turned seven years old in January. Her mother was a woman who lived with diabetes, so the seeds of interest were planted to become involved in the Kahnawà:ke Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP). She is a volunteer member of the project through the community advisory board (CAB) since 1994. She has served as the Chairperson of its Executive Committee since 2004. When her term ended, there was opportunity to become the Elder of that committee where she has remained up to the present. KSDPP has given her the opportunity to attend many workshops and conferences all over Canada as well as to Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Dean Eurich
Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Dr. Eurich is a Professor in the School of Public Health, and the Program Director for the Clinical Epidemiology program at the University of Alberta. His other roles include: ACHORD Research Associate, Member of the Alberta Diabetes Institute Research & Trainee Steering Committee at the U of A, member of Diabetes Canada National Research Council, Chair for the New Investigator Awards Committee of Diabetes Canada, and is a Joint Lead, Career Development in Methods and Health Services Research for Alberta’s Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Support for People and Patient- Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) unit. Dr. Eurich’s research focuses largely in the areas of chronic disease, and health promotion and prevention activities. Within those core areas, his research targets diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory illness.

Kari Meneen
Team Lead, RADAR, Diabetes Care Coordinator, OKAKI Health Intelligence Inc.

Kari Meneen-Haggerty is a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator with extensive experience working in First Nation Communities. Kari has worked in the communities as a Home Care Nurse, Retinal Photographer, Diabetes Educator, and currently as a Care Coordinator for a Diabetes initiative called RADAR (Reorganizing the Approach to Diabetes through the Application of Registries). Kari has been providing front line diabetes care and management to patients with diabetes for almost 8 years. In her current role she supports front line nurses and community health workers in improving the care and outcomes of patients with diabetes. She is passionate about improving access to diabetes care and the health outcomes of First Nations peoples and communities. Kari’s skills include nursing education, nursing process, and project management. She holds a degree a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology from Concordia University College (2005), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Alberta (2010), and is currently completing a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University.

Panel Presentations

Dr. Jon McGavock
Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba

Dr. McGavock is an associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. He is currently the co-leader of the DREAM Theme at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Dr. McGavock held a CIHR New Investigator Salary Award from 2010-2014 and currently holds a CIHR Applied Health Chair in Obesity and Resilience in Indigenous Youth. His research program is focused on the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes in youth, with a particular focus on physical activity. His research program has three distinct pillars designed to span the spectrum of mechanistic human physiology studies to community-based participatory action research. Dr. McGavock's formal training is in Kinesiology. He completed a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education at the University of Manitoba (1997), a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology at McGill University (1999), and a PhD in Exercise Science at the University of Alberta (2003). Following his doctoral degree he completed a CIHR-funded post-doctoral fellowship within the Albert-based STIHR training program TORCH (2003-2004) and a Heart and Stroke Foundation/CIHR Target Obesity Fellowship in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology with Drs. Benjamin Levine and Ron Victor UT Southwestern Medical Centre (2004-2006).

Lerinda Wright
Registered Nurse (RN), Seabird Island Band Mobile Diabetes Team

Lerinda Wright is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Lerinda has been working as a Registered Nurse for the past 28 years both in First Nations communities and Provincial Health Authorities. She recently joined the Seabird Island Mobile Diabetes Team in BC in 2015, and is one of four core team members that travel the southern parts of BC, covering 86 First Nations Bands. There are currently three mobile diabetes clinics serving BC First Nations: The Inter-Tribal Health Authority Tele-Ophthalmology Project (Vancouver Island, British Columbia), Carrier Sekani Family Services Mobile Diabetes Telemedicine Clinic (northern British Columbia), and Seabird Island Mobile Diabetes Telemedicine Clinic (southern mainland British Columbia). The latter two also provide point-of-care laboratory testing, physical assessments, and data entry into the Virtual Diabetes Centre platform. With a mandate to see known diabetics on reserve, the team also is able to offer professional development for health care providers and screening opportunities at health fairs and communities events with Band members who are at high risk.


Dr. Keith Dawson
Professor of Medicine, UBC; Endocrinologist, Vancouver General Hospital

Dr. Keith Dawson is an emeritus Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital. A graduate of Princeton University (AB), Columbia University (MD) and McGill University (PhD), He was a member of the McGill Faculty of Medicine and since 1978 the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, teaching and treating people with diabetes. He is author of some 50 research papers in the field.