Diabetes Awareness Month Profile: Angela Kakepetum

Indigenous Liason Worker, Angela Kakepetum.

November 14th was recognized as World Diabetes Day. This year’s theme is Access to Diabetes Care. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications, but sometimes gaining access to diabetes care is difficult.

Many people living in First Nations communities across Northwestern Ontario may need to travel to Thunder Bay to access care. To help support patients when they visit the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (CCDC) at TBRHSC, there is an Indigenous Liason Worker, Angela Kakepetum. Today, we’re sharing a Q & A from Angela to get to know her and understand her role.

What does it take to be an Indigenous liaison worker?

To be an Indigenous Liaison Worker you are required to have the skills and abilities to work as an interpreter. To better support Indigenous patients and their families, learning medical terminology and translating into Oji-Cree is helpful. This role requires professionalism, patience and excellent communication skills. You must be passionate while providing culturally sensitive care. I strive to understand the needs of patients and to communicate those needs efficiently to professional staff at the CCDC.

What inspired you to work in diabetes care?

I have worked as an Indigenous Interpreter Navigator at TBRHSC since April 2021. An opportunity arose for me to use my experience in a position with the CCDC. I was eager to continue to support professional staff in their engagement with Indigenous patients and families.

What is unique about your role?

What is unique about this role is having the ability to speak and understand Oji-Cree. I have the ability of understanding the cultural aspects of providing good patient care.

How does your role impact patient care?

This role helps patients feel reassured, less afraid and supported. I can help alleviate their apprehension and to help guide staff to be able to provide culturally sensitive care.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle is part of your daily messaging to patients. Do you have any personal tips on how to stay healthy?

My personal tip on how to stay healthy is to tend to your mind, body and heart. Walking has many benefits and has helped me improve my wellbeing.

Any final thoughts?

I am grateful for the opportunity to work in this role as Indigenous Liaison Worker. I look forward to being a part of the team here at the CCDC.