MARCH 23-25, 2021

The three day event, presented by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat, featured speakers from across Canada discussing the theme Walking Together Through a Health Crisis. This event also held the Honouring Our People Awards to recognize those who have contributed and made an impact in the Atlantic First Nations Communities. While this free event was open to the public, the content was tailored to those in the Atlantic region.

Important Notes

The conference will be taking place online using the Sched platform. Once registered, please keep an eye on your inbox for session and ticket info. Sessions will be streamed using the RingCentral software (which is free to download). Session links can be found in the Sched agenda on this page on the day of the event.

Honouring Our People Awards Winners

The Honouring Our People Awards are a special part of the Annual Atlantic Indigenous Health Conference. These awards recognize people that contribute to the health and wellness field either in First Nations communities or for them, and who make a difference in the lives of the people with whom they work. APC is pleased to announce this year’s Honouring our People Awards recipients, presented at the 2021 Atlantic Indigenous Health Conference.

The 6 Awards were granted as follows:

Sally Johnson

Sally worked as the Director of Health for the Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq since 1995, a job she loved doing right up to her passing. Sally was respected and admired by many. She made enormous and incredible contributions in Health and Wellness. This respect came even before she became an Elder. Her heartfelt passion and drive enabled her to work tirelessly for First Nations everywhere. She was a true advocate, mentor, and advisor. She had a wealth of knowledge and experience and was so dedicated to all she did. Her guidance and insights were indicative of her passion for highlighting the importance of health and wellness for First Nations. She had a great sense of humor and would often leave a smile on many people’s faces followed by a wonderful memory.

Not only did Sally work full-time in Nova Scotia, but she also chaired a few committees in the region. She took part in the regional health partnership and sat on the subcommittees. If it had anything to do with health, Sally was on it advocating for First Nations. She also co-chaired many committees. She also has sat on many, many national Health and Social Committees. Sally’s loss was felt across the country.

Michelle “Shelly” McLean

Michelle “Shelly” McLean, Lennox Island Band Member and Director of Health Services has worked at the Lennox Island Health Centre since 1995; and took on the role of Health Director in 2000. Through the commitment to Lennox Island and the Health of both the on-reserve, and off-reserve population. Many programs and services have been developed and delivered to meet the ever-evolving needs.

As a leader in Indigenous Health in PEI, “Shelly” has many roles including sitting at the HPPF table, part of the Lennox Island Senior Management Team, sits at the National Forum for NIHB, and many other initiatives and committees.

At the Lennox Island Health Centre “Shelly” oversees a multitude of programs and initiatives including:

  • Primary Care
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Health Promotion
  • Home and Community Care
  • AHSOR/Daycare
  • Mental Health
  • Addictions
  • Social Development
  • Our Emergency Women’s Shelter
  • And many, many, more!

Shelly is continually moving the needle and planning for program improvement that will best meet the needs of those who access Lennox Island Health Services. Shelly plays a central role in all aspects of Community Health Planning. She leads by being forward thinking, while ensuring culture plays a central role in all considerations of Health Programming.

Madelaine O’Reilly

Madelaine O’Reilly has been the Home and Community Care coordinator in Membertou for the past 16 years.

Madelaine graduated from Dalhousie University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2003. Madelaine is very active in her community volunteering for the Membertou Seniors Annual pilgrimage to St Anne De Beaupre, Membertou St Ann’s Church, Autism Nova Scotia Cape Breton Region Chapter, recently joined the CBU Mi’kmaq Nursing Advisory Committee and sits on several committees and groups.

In the last year, Madelaine has become the face of COVID-19 information in Membertou, sharing videos, working with community & departments, and even using her own social media pages as sources of pandemic information for all.

Although challenges were many, she did not let it stop her. She worked with First Nations communities across Atlantic Canada to navigate the evolving pandemic. Madelaine stepped up to support seniors, and all community members this year, no matter the barriers that existed – she always chose to challenge and do what was best for Membertou and All Our Mi’kmaq Communities!

Howard Thistle

Howard Thistle began his career when he graduated from Dalhousie University certified as a Dental Hygienist. He would work as a dental hygienist starting in 1997 while also serving for 5 years in the Canadian Military from 2003-2008.

In 2011, Howard joined the staff of Qalipu First Nations as the Non-insured Health Benefits Navigator. As a Navigator, Howard supports First Nation and Inuit and communities in accessing and gaining an increased understanding of existing health services, jurisdictions and the NIHB program. While identifying ways of improving health services for First Nations and Inuit. His wealth of knowledge along with his deep indigenous roots in his hometown of Glenwood make him a valuable supporter of the indigenous communities.

When Howard is not at the office, he can be found in the saddle of his horse Blaze riding the trails alongside his canine companion Jupiter.

Paige Hambrook-Storey

Paige Hambrook-Storey is a member of the Eel Ground First Nation. She has worked for the Eel Ground Health Centre since 2009.

Paige oversees the Maternal Child Health program and is also the COHI and FASD worker for the community. Some of the things Paige does is:

  • Promote the Maternal Child Health Program
  • Provide information on breastfeeding, family planning and general health
  • Provide information to expectant mothers
  • Recruit parents to MCH program
  • Plan and prepare materials to teach and show parents about child development
  • Teach behavior management and living skills
  • Teach/assist with prenatal classes
  • Teach parents and caregivers basic oral hygiene
  • Assist with dental screening
  • Apply fluoride
  • Assist with other programs i.e., promotions, etc.
  • FASD advocacy, support & referrals

Paige shows true compassion, dedication and is culturally sensitive to the health and wellbeing of our families and children. Paige is always looking for new funding opportunities so she can submit proposals to bring in extra funding to complement our existing programs.

Paige has a pleasant and outgoing personality which provides a welcoming atmosphere for parents and children.

Jody Rowsell

Originally from Corner Brook, NL, Jody moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 2000. She started working with NIHB in 2004 in Edmonton and transferred to Halifax in 2017.

As her roles changed within FNIHB, her passion to work with First Nations grew. Jody travelled to many First Nations Communities both in Alberta and in the Atlantic Region, and found a strong relationship developed with her in person visits.

Jody is very passionate about First Nations and Inuit, and especially enjoys working with the Labrador Communities. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, shopping, and exploring new places!  Jody loves animals, and especially loves dogs!


Schedule & Speaker Information