Middlesex Hospital Alliance and Southwest Ontario Health Access Centre recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

(Strathroy, ON) – September 30th was the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which served as a day of  remembrance, reflection, action and learning about the tragic history and long-standing traumatic effects of residential schools on Indigenous families and communities. The day honours survivors, their families, and communities, and is a vital component of the reconciliation process in Canada.

The Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) felt it was important to honour and recognize this day with intentionality and solemnness. “MHA is committed to Truth and Reconciliation through teaching, learning and partnerships. With a focus on reconciliation and healing, it is important to understand that advancing the cause of reconciliation is everyone’s responsibility. Meaningful action is essential to move forward with reconciliation” says Todd Stepanuik, President and CEO, MHA.

As part of that plan, MHA recently recognized the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by proudly partnering with the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) at FCHS and Atlohsa Family Healing Services at SMGH for a number of activities for the day. In consultation with Indigenous health partners, white pines were planted at each hospital location. It has been suggested that planting white pines is symbolic in helping to move grief. Following the tree planting and blessing ceremony, participating staff and physicians were invited to join MHA senior leadership members and Indigenous leaders for moments of reflection. Members of Indigenous partner organizations led participating staff and physicians in a story telling session entitled “Racism in healthcare – why it exists, the fear experienced, and what we can do about it”. Finally, throughout the day, an “Every Child Matters” orange flag was flown at both locations to mark the day, and will continue to fly.

Brian Dokis, CEO at SOAHAC remarked that “this new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is another important step in recognizing the harmful legacies of residential schools and in encouraging all of those who live on Turtle Island to take action to support the healing and strengthening of Indigenous families and communities. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of our partners at MHA, including events like this, to address the systemic racism that exists within our healthcare system and to be part of a culturally-appropriate solution.”

Though it will take time and commitment to heal the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada, the reconciliation process has begun. As such, MHA will continue to engage with Indigenous partners to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day in the coming years.


For local inquiries:

Middlesex Hospital Alliance
Todd Stepanuik
President & CEO
Middlesex Hospital Alliance
519-245-5295 ext:5592

Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre
Brian Dokis
Chief Executive Officer
Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre
519-914-1858 Ext.2001

About Middlesex Hospital Alliance:
The Middlesex Hospital Alliance (MHA) is comprised of two fully accredited partner sites: Four Counties Health Services and Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital. A progressive, team-oriented and technologically adept organization of excellence, the MHA is creating a more integrated and seamless approach to treatment by embracing and seeking out partnerships, through collaboration and investing in people. This coordinated approach helps to ensure that a high level of service is provided, while reducing costs and continually enhancing quality.

About Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre:
SOAHAC provides high quality, wholistic health and wellness services by sharing and promoting traditional Indigenous and western health practices. Services are provided to more than 35,000 Indigenous (First Nation, Métis, Inuit) people and their families, living on and off-reserve, in rural areas, and the urban Indigenous communities in London, Windsor and Owen Sound, and soon, in Waterloo-Wellington, as well as surrounding First Nation communities. SOAHAC is proud to be accredited through the Canadian Centre for Accreditation, a third-party designation based on organizational practices that promote ongoing quality improvement and responsive, effective community services. For more information visit: https://soahac.on.ca/.

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