By Laura Mushumanski
(ANNews) – Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) there is a valuable new sharing resource now available for First Nation Health providers called InfoPoint. It is bringing comprehensive health information to the people who need it most, at a time when they need it most.
For the past 10 years, the FNHMA’s mission has been to provide leadership in health management activities for First Nations health managers, and during this chaotic time, FNHMA continues to live up to their mission.
The association is a grassroots health leader network that has the seven sacred teachings woven into its description and its vision of expanding health capacity for First Nations.
To further enhance support around COVID-19, the First Nations Health Managers Association has structured a support service dedicated to First Nations Health Managers. The service, Infopoint, provides credible information and resources tailored to having a single point of contact. In other words,
“First Nations Health Managers Association will do the work for you.”
The iskwew (Cree woman) and CEO representing First Nations Health Managers Association, Marion Crowe, has the privilege to lead an organization that continuously works hard and is committed to building wellness throughout the Nation, enhancing community engagement and preparing wellness initiatives and supports for the next seven generations.
There is an endless amount of health resources on the internet. The First Nations Health Managers Association has consolidated relevant resources, and created InfoPoint, that specifically serves First Nations health managers. InfoPoint is accessible online, by phone, and by email.
Ms. Crowe stated in an interview,
“We thought we can do more than just host resources, we can actually search out the information, so that First Nations health managers don’t have to. We can tailor it; we can put together a package directly related to what they are looking for.”
With the realization and knowledge that the front-line workers are seeking resources and information about COVID-19, the idea for InfoPoint was put into action. After 15 days of pouring blood, sweat and tears, InfoPoint was launched on May 11, 2020. And with the goal of having a personal connection with the First Nations health managers seeking support, InfoPoint has become an invaluable resource.
The First Nations Health Managers Association has partnered with Indigenous Services Canada, Indigenous Health Today, NationTalk, Red Cross, and various Indigenous health supporting organizations while staying within FNHMA mandate.
It partnered with NationTalk to host weekly virtual town hall meetings every Thursday at 1 pm EDT. Each week the virtual town halls feature speakers from different organizations to provide information, resources and updates on how their organization is combatting COVID-19. The virtual town halls and resources for each region throughout Turtle Island are accessible to the general public to participate and inquire about COVID-19 concerns.
In addition to being a valuable resource, InfoPoint has brought employment for First Nations summer students and shone a light on partnerships throughout Indigenous health organizations, as well as non-Indigenous people’s commitment to The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
“The magnified light on the commitment to equal, equitable, and accessible services for First Nations populations, demonstrates the commitment to breaking barriers and walls,” noted Ms. Crowe. “As well, we are seeing the community getting back to our roots by shining light on spiritual and mental wellness and getting back onto the land.”
Marion’s heartfelt words, “it is humbly a blessing to serve in this capacity,” exemplifies how passionate she is about finding her path within the health industry and by leading, supporting and enhancing relationships with the FNHMA family and front-line workers.
The next step for the First Nations Health Managers Association’s family is to continue to build up partnership with Indigenous Service Canada, support First Nations health managers and encourage health leaders to be kind to themselves.
Laura Mushumanski is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Indigenous Issues for Alberta Native News.