Student, UBC Certificate in Aboriginal Health and Community Administration
As a Health Director, Lois Williams manages and administers health programs for families and communities located in Yunesit’in (Stone), British Columbia. With recent legislation making BC First Nations responsible for their own health programs and administration, Lois recognized the importance of upgrading her knowledge and skills in health care, particularly in the areas of human resources and leadership.
I learned what it means to be an effective leader as a Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin) woman. I gained practical skills and knowledge I can use to help my community grow into a healthy Nation.
Lois registered for the UBC Certificate in Aboriginal Health and Community Administration, an award-winning program developed in partnership with the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. She began the program in early 2014 and was able to take courses online, allowing her to study during and after work hours. Lois was able to meet some of her fellow students and facilitators at five residency weekends held throughout the year at UBC Vancouver campus. The time to collaborate and to share stories and strategies has proved invaluable to Lois.
Through the program, Lois learned to evaluate her strengths as a Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin) woman and to realize what she needs to do to draw out the best in others. “I love encouraging leadership, which gives my health staff empowerment and confidence to do their jobs,” says Lois.
Lois has used many of the skills she has learned in her work, including team-building, evaluating community health needs, and writing proposals. She has already seen beneficial results. “We get many positive compliments from the community and from other communities within the Tsilhqot'in Nation. The doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses comment on how welcoming and open our facility is and also how organized we are as a staff,” she says.
Hoping to graduate from the 11-month program this December, Lois has big hopes for the future. “We would like to design new programs to highlight a wellness model of treatment and prevention by implementing our Tsilhqot'in laws, rituals and ceremonies. I look forward to living on the land and harvesting our traditional food and medicine. Taking this program is a great first step in helping us grow into a healthier nation.”