Leading the way: UGME Alumna wins prestigious Indigenous leadership award
uOttawa alumna Dr. Chelsey Bertrand always knew she’d return home to Northern Ontario after completing her MD at uOttawa in 2018.
“I have roots in the Sudbury area, but am a member of the Ojibwe community of Sagamok Anishnawbek,” said Dr. Bertrand. “Sudbury is where I grew up, where my family is located, and is also where I practice my Indigenous rights such as hunting and fishing within my traditional territory and the Robinson-Huron treaty area.”
So, this past fall she began her residency program at Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). Shortly after, Dr. Bertrand was awarded the 2018 Indigenous Medical Student Leadership Award by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
For learners, this award is prestigious. Every year, all 17 Canadian medical schools submit a nomination and only one recipient is chosen.
“It is an honour and surprise to win the award this year,” said Dr. Bertrand. “The Indigenous stream of the MD program at uOttawa has prepared me incredibly well for my career by providing numerous opportunities to learn, practice and mentor in Indigenous health.”
Throughout her medical education at uOttawa, Dr. Bertrand participated in community placements at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Clinic in Ottawa, as well as at the Akwesasne Medical Clinic in the Mohawk community near Cornwall.
During her studies at uOttawa, Dr. Bertrand also helped to facilitate the Indigenous Mini-Medical School program “Come Walk in Our Moccasins,” including a memorable session in 2017 delivered at a high school in Iqaluit, Nunavut to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students interested in the medical field.
“After residency, I see myself working in Indigenous health in some aspect or another,” said Dr. Bertrand, who still has one or two more years of family medicine residency to go. “I’m excited to be an Indigenous family physician.”