I am an honoured recipient of the Barb Worth Emerging Leadership Award. I’m delighted to use this opportunity to share an initiative that reshaped my understanding of leadership.

A highlight of my Occupational Therapy studies was an internship with the Cree Board of Health of James Bay in Northern Quebec. Ourproject developed a training program for Indigenous community rehabilitation workers (“Rehab Monitors”), that integrates Cree and Westerns perspectives of health, to support culturally relevant care lead by Indigenous people.

The training emphasizes Cree language and perspectives, alongside science-based knowledge to deliver rehabilitation services. The modules are delivered by Cree people and rehab professionals working together, and cover such topics as home safety, strength training, dementia, leading group activities, and more.  Because the nine James Bays Cree communities have varying needs, the training modules need to be flexible. The power-point slides are adaptable, and include breaks for sharing and story-telling.

The success of this project is the continuation of leadership: my supervisor envisioned the concept, rehabilitation teams implement it in their communities, with the goal that Rehab Monitors deliver the training. Theproject is showing early success.

Through this project, I learned that leadership is successful when it is collaborative, shared, and empowers people at all levels.

Undoubtedly, my educational and extracurricular pursuits that strengthened my capacity to engage with this project would not be possible without generous supports from organizations such as the COTF.  In the spirit of Barb Worth leadership, this award supports students to balance wellness alongside wholehearted pursuit of change and innovation.

Julianne Brown

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