Improving Indigenous Health Status To The Highest Attainable Level

Our Board

Dr. Darlene Kitty
Dr. Darlene Kitty
President
Chisasibi Cree Nation, James Bay, QC

Dr. Kitty is a Cree woman and family physician practicing in Chisasibi, in northern Quebec. She began her journey to become a physician in obtaining baccalaureate degrees in Biology and Nursing and worked as a Registered Nurse. She graduated from medical school at the University of Ottawa in 2002, then completed Family Medicine residency and Emergency Medicine fellowship in Sudbury.

Because of various barriers that she and other aboriginal students have faced in applying and being admitted to medical school, Dr. Kitty is committed to help other aboriginal students who have the same dreams to become a doctor. She has participated in recruitment strategies of aboriginal students into medicine and teaching aboriginal health at the University of Ottawa and McGill University.

Since starting practice in 2005, Dr. Kitty has been doing Emergency and hospitalist locums in northeastern Ontario and working as a family physician in Chisasibi. One of her passions includes teaching medical staff and learners about the historical and social context of the James Bay Cree and how this has affected their physical and psychosocial health status. As a role model and community leader, she advocates for youth in achieving one’s dreams and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Kitty also addresses medical and other clinical issues and advocates for the Cree population as President of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists, Region 18 and as Clinical Representative to the Board of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.

Dr. Veronica McKinney
Dr. Veronica McKinney
Treasurer
Cree & Métis, Saskatoon, SK

Dr. Veronica, as she is known, originates from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and is of Cree/Métis descent. She has always had an interest in medicine which she attributes to her Mother, an Elder and Family Worker, as well as her Great-Grandmother, who was a Medicine Woman/Midwife. Dr. McKinney started her career as a Medical Lab Tech, then went on to Nursing, and finally, to medicine. Dr. McKinney graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1998, and went on to obtain her residency in Family Practice in 2000, and then her Emergency Medicine in 2001. She has worked in several First Nations and Métis communities, including several in Northern Saskatchewan, Northwestern Ontario, and British Columbia. She has worked with urban, rural and remote Indigenous populations, and has provided services as a Family Practitioner as well as an Emergency Room Physician.

Dr. McKinney was the Site Director for the Aboriginal Program, a Family Practice Residency Program that specializes in Indigenous Health at the University of British Columbia. In this capacity, she was able to develop and implement a curriculum along with relevant community experiences to allow for development of culturally safe practice in our First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. In addition, she continued to practice Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine.

Currently, she is the Director of Northern Medical Services, a division within the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. As such, Dr. McKinney has input on teaching and clinical practice, promoting Indigenous Health starting in pre-medicine through to practice, and works on behalf of the Aboriginal people in the North. She continues her practice of clinical medicine at the Westside Community Clinic. She is also a wife and mother of a two beautiful little boys, Nikosis and Kona, both of whom she loves to spend copious amounts of time with playing, laughing, singing, dancing, and having fun!

Dr. McKinney is a sought after speaker because of her knowledge, experience and passion for Aboriginal Health. She believes strongly in her traditional cultural teachings and applies them to her practice of medicine daily. She is a strong advocate for the health of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit, having witnessed and experienced the inequities firsthand.

Dr. Cheryl Barnabe
Dr. Cheryl Barnabe
Secretary
Métis, Calgary, AB

Dr. Cheryl Barnabe is Métis from southeastern Manitoba. She completed medical school (2003) and Internal Medicine (2006) at the University of Manitoba, then moved to Calgary, Alberta for her rheumatology fellowship (2008). She completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Calgary (2011). Her current position is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, and a staff rheumatologist for Alberta Health Services, Calgary Zone.

Dr. Barnabe’s clinical service and research focuses on the burden of rheumatic disease and arthritis in First Nations communities in Alberta, as well as the application of advanced diagnostics in early rheumatoid and undifferentiated arthritis.

Dr. Lisa Monkman
Dr. Lisa Monkman
Director
Aniishnawbe, Dauphin, MB

I am a 2006 graduate of the rural family medicine program at the University of Manitoba. My family is Anishinaabe from Vogar, MB. My mother is Debra Beach-Ducharme and my father is Steven Monkman. I must acknowledge my parents for all their love, support and strong role- modelling they provided for me growing up. They certainly paved the way for me and my siblings by making inroads in Aboriginal education as teachers. I am the eldest of 7 (5 brothers and one sister) My interest is in Aboriginal health. I do emergency medicine, obstetrics, hospital care and outreach clinics on the Reservation.

I have led an Aboriginal women’s hand drum group in the past and love to dance at powwows. In my early years I travelled to Sweden, Spain and Brazil with my Aboriginal dance troupe to perform and share our culture with the world.

This summer I plan on sundancing in Rosebud, South Dakota. My plan is to also take a month off of clinical practice in the fall to train to be a yoga instructor. My longer term goal is to do Aboriginal health research and continue to promote health and healing in rural communities.

I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!

James Makokis
Dr. James Makokis
Director
Saddle Lake Cree First Nation, Alberta

Dr. James Makokis was born and raised on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, in northeastern Alberta and graduated Medical School from the University of Ottawa in 2010. He completed the Aboriginal Family Medicine Residency Program at UBC in 2012 and is currently working in his home community, which has been his lifelong dream since he was four years old.

Dr. Makokis also holds a Master’s degree in Health Science-Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto. He was previously the National Spokesperson for the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s “Lead Your Way” youth role model program (2007-2009), promoting healthy lifestyles amongst Indigenous youth and communities across Canada. As a committed volunteer, Dr. Makokis has been involved in a number of community programs, working with street-involved populations in Edmonton, and supporting gays, lesbians and two-spirited Aboriginal youth.

Dr. Makokis was the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Award Youth Recipient. His medical interests lie in health promotion and disease prevention, and working with Traditional Indigenous Knowledge holders to provide more holistic patient care. He is an avid runner having completed seven marathons and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Dr. Karen Hill
Dr. Karen Hill
Director

Dr Karen Hill is Mohawk Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Karen has been instrumental in obtaining funding to bring primary care to her community and was founding physician with the Six Nations Family Health Team. She currently works in collaborative practice with traditional healers Elva Jamieson and Wendy Hill at Six Nations. Karen is also on faculty with the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University where she completed her undergraduate medical education and family medicine residency.

Victor Vien
Victor Vien
Student Director

Victor Vien is a medical student at the University of Toronto. Victor was born and raised in Timmins Ontario and is proud of his Métis heritage. After leaving Timmins for University, he studied at Queen’s University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction. While at Queen’s, Victor was involved with the local Aboriginal community and was an active student leader at Queen’s.

Since starting medical school at the University of Toronto, Victor has been an active member of the local Aboriginal community. In addition, Victor was a coordinator for the Aboriginal Health Elective and is a co-founder of the Indigenous Health Sciences Group at UofT. Since starting medical school, Victor has been involved with a number of research projects and has demonstrated a strong interest in medical education. Most recently, he is working with faculty members on a module to teach medical students and health professionals on cultural safety.

Victor is more then happy to hear from other medical students (and, future medical students) to discuss anything about his involvement with IPAC and the UofT Aboriginal community. Please contact Victor by e-mail at anytime (victor.vien@mail.utoronto.ca).

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau
Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau
Past President
Cree & Saulteaux, Winnipeg, MB

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau is Cree- Saulteaux, with roots going to the Norway House Cree Nation and Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. She currently practices general internal medicine in Winnipeg and co-leads the Manitoba First Nations Public Health Improvement Pilot Project.

At the University of Manitoba she participates in Indigenous health teaching for medical students. Her research interests include improving the health measurement of Indigenous peoples in Canada, examining methods to combine Indigenous knowledge with Western public and primary health care practices, and the use of equity focused health impact assessments as a tool to reduce health inequities.