Part of SHN’s new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy for 2022-2025 focuses on addressing anti-racism, intersectionality, anti-oppression, and Indigenous Cultural safety. An important step in prioritizing health equity at SHN is advancing our Indigenous Health Program.
With SHN’s future direction clearly laid out, we are thrilled to introduce the appointment of Ellie Henry as SHN’s new Indigenous Patient Navigator (IPN).
Introducing Ellie Henry, Indigenous Patient Navigator
Ellie Henry is an RPN who hails from Alderville First Nation, an Indigenous reserve just one hour outside of Scarborough. After living in Scarborough in her youth, she is returning to the community to take on the role of IPN at SHN.
Ellie has over seven years of experience supervising various staff in healthcare settings within First Nations communities. Through her nursing background, she has also supported community care within Palliative Care, Long-Term Care, and Community Clinics.
She is well-versed in working with interprofessional teams and coordinating and integrating care services across the healthcare system. Ellie has successfully supervised staff within various healthcare settings and First Nations communities, showcasing her leadership acumen. Her accomplishments include the development and implementation of the home support program at Scugog Island First Nation, where she demonstrated exceptional program management and coordination skills.
As IPN, Ellie will help coordinate more inclusive care and services to better meet the needs of Indigenous patients and their families.
“Our community has certain cultural practices and ceremonies that can help Indigenous patients,” said Ellie. “There are organizations in Toronto with traditional healers and ceremonies. Sometimes, I’m able to tell a patient about these traditional options that they may not expect to be available to them or have ever considered before. Now at SHN, this can become part of their care plan with their physician and care team.”
In addition to her healthcare experience and expertise, Ellie’s own personal connection to Indigenous culture and care options have well equipped her for this vital role.
“There was a time when I was experiencing poor mental health due to an ended relationship. I contacted Anishnawbe Health Toronto and they had me come in to see a traditional healer. He performed a ceremony, gave me some medicine to go home with, even gave me my spirit name. I felt so connected and healed. It was an amazing experience and Indigenous patients should know it’s an option for them.”
Supporting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
A key part of the IPN role is improving access to culturally safe healthcare for our Indigenous community members. Ellie will support and advocate for Indigenous patients and their loved ones. This includes building an open and welcoming care environment within our health network where Indigenous patients feel safe to seek and receive traditional healing.
Ellie will assist SHN care teams in addressing the cultural and spiritual needs of Indigenous patients and families by facilitating access to both hospital and community services. She will also educate and coach our staff to provide culturally safe care so that Indigenous cultural safety can be embedded as an essential principle throughout SHN.
Existing navigational and advocacy supports currently provided by local community and regional partners will be integrated with supports available through the IPN. The IPN will also play a role in community engagement, creating an advisory committee, policy development, health literacy, and other building blocks to support the development of an Indigenous Health program at SHN.
IPN role’s fit with care delivery
While Ellie’s role is situated under the Chronic Disease Prevention and Management portfolio, the IPN supports care hospital-wide. Ellie will aid in building strategies, core principles and care approaches that lead to successful health equity, culturally safe care, and effective care delivery.
We look forward to the role Ellie will play in helping us shape the future of care at SHN.
Ellie Henry, Indigenous Patient Navigator
Phone: (416) 438-2911, ext. 6313.