By: Mercedes Stemm, Dalhousie BSc in Neuroscience Student
Dalhousie’s Indigenous Health in Medicine Program in cooperation with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation are pleased to present the 3rd annual Kitpu Wise March Break Camp at Dalhousie University (March 16th-20th, 2020).
The word Kitpu is Mi’kmaq for eagle. Eagles are found throughout Canada and are sacred animals to Indigenous people. In Indigenous people’s culture, the eagle and their feathers are sacred symbols, and most use eagle feathers in ceremony. It is also a great honour to be presented with an eagle feather. Overall, eagles are known to be messengers to the Creator, and signify courage, strength, and wisdom.
Launched in 2018, the Kitpu Wise camp was established for Indigenous students in grades 7-12 interested in Medicine. For 5 days students are engaged with an agenda full of workshops, and presentations related to health careers. They receive hands on learning experiences related to clinical health programs and cultural experiences. They engage in presentations by different health professionals such as doctors, a First Nation nursing student, and Dentistry outreach workers.
Each day contains a different health related program activity. The students learn about the Kinesiology, Recreation, and Health Promotion programs. They also experience Dalhousie’s School of Health Sciences programs such as Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Medical Laboratory Technology, Radiological Technology, and Respiratory Therapy.
The week also includes hands on learning with Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and Dentistry. This year, we are proud to partner with Dalhousie Medical students to incorporate a Doctor for a Day program.
Indigenous health care is best provided by those who understand the cultural, spiritual, and family aspects of Indigenous health. Therefore, this camp is a great community outreach and recruitment strategy to increase representation of Indigenous youth into health careers. We show Indigenous students that they can pursue any health career. This year, we increased the March break camp to 25 students.
Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine continues to recognize the need to build strong relationships with Indigenous communities by committing to the TRC Calls to Action into our educational programming.
To find out more about the Indigenous Health Program we invite you to