A metal sign placed on a concrete wall reads 'Nanaimo Regional General Hospital'

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital / Image via Province of BC

VIU will be opening the conversation around Indigenous-specific racism in the health care system that is happening close to campus and around Vancouver Island for its Engaged Citizen Speaker Series.

VIU will be welcoming Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik, Associate Deputy Minister for Indigenous Health with the BC Ministry of Health, to speak on the important topic following the publication of the report In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care.

The report was published in November 2020 after Health Minister Adrian Dix appointed Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead an investigation into allegations of systemic racism happening towards Indigenous patients in the BC health care system. The report found that Indigenous people in BC often deal with widespread racism that often results in inequitable treatment or physical harm.

Thomas, who is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, will be presenting “An Island Response to In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care” on Wednesday, February 10 at 6:30 pm. Following the presentation will be a live Q&A with Thomas.

Thomas will use her presentation to highlight some of the 24 recommendations that were made in the report, share her own experiences with the health care system, as well as discuss some strategies that have been effective in the Island Health region.

Launched in 2019, the Engaged Citizens Speaker Series has the goal of encouraging meaningful and engaging conversations about social challenges while advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

This edition will be presented as a part of VIU’s Global Citizens Week which will be taking place from February 8-12.

You can register for the free event on the Zoom webinar website.


Lauryn is a fourth-year Digital Media Studies student. She has had her work featured in the Powell River Peak, Portal Magazine, and The Discourse. When she’s not looking up fun facts about bees, she’s probably fantasying about Portland, Oregon.

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