In June 2021, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Grand Council Treaty #3 partnered to hire Joelle Mandamin as the Hospital’s first Indigenous Care Coordinator (ICC). In her role as an ICC, Mandamin provides a range of services including patient navigation, advocacy, discharge planning, and support services to Indigenous peoples, primarily members of the Grand Council Treaty #3 communities, that access health and mental health services at TBRHSC.
The goal of the ICC program is to improve equitable access to care for Indigenous patients and support their return home by working with local community supports. This is done through discharge planning processes and accessing supports that leverage community/region-based services that are culturally appropriate and safe. Mandamin is the first of four ICCs at TBRHSC that will be working in this capacity.
Mandamin grew up in Kenora and Shoal Lake #40 First Nation. Prior to the development of the Freedom Road, she recalls having to use a barge to cross the lake from the island, and walking on the ice road during winter freeze-up and spring thawing in order to access much needed resources. She has a strong appreciation of the challenges that Indigenous people face when they leave their home communities for health care in Thunder Bay.
“I am honoured to be an Indigenous Care Coordinator because I am passionate about improving health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples. There are many social determinants of health that can significantly impact the Indigenous population such as access to health services and nutritious food, historical trauma, and social exclusion, to name a few.”
In 2016, Mandamin moved to Thunder Bay to attend the Registered Nursing Program at Lakehead University. After graduating, she completed Continuous Professional Learning courses in respiratory therapy and cardiology. Before her role as an ICC, she worked on medical inpatient unit 2B at TBRHSC, where she has stayed on casual.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with patients, families, and the health care team to ensure that provision of care is patient-centered and culturally safe. As a Treaty #3 member, I feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve people from back home.”
When Mandamin isn’t at work, she is kept busy with her children, ages 9 and 10. She likes to cook and play guitar, and as a family they like to bake, swim, and bike.
To learn more about additional services and supports available for Indigenous patients and families, please visit http://tbrhsc.net/home/indigenous-health-services/.