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Orpah McKenzie

Orpah McKenzie
Interim Director, Aboriginal Affairs
Northern Ontario Medical School


Much of my career as a Registered Nurse has been dedicated to helping members of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations develop and manage local health care services. For the past six years I have worked helping to introduce the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations of Nishnawbe Aski (our people and their land) to the tools and benefits that telehealth can deliver.

Telehealth offers a great opportunity for all of our First Nations. It allows us to become increasingly self-reliant. By delivering more health care from within our own communities, we reduce the need to remove our sick, injured and elderly from the care and support of their families at the time when they are most vulnerable.

The objective of health care is to promote healing. Healing is done best within a community of support. For mental health primary care especially, it is important that patients be supported while living within the environment where they will need to survive during and after their healing process.

Investment in Telehealth for the North is necessary and crucial to improve primary health care services … and should not be justified only in terms of savings gained on transportation costs. However the real return will be in the creation of strong, self-reliant communities and community members who will use their strength to contribute, each in their unique way, to their community and Canadian society.



 

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