About the Aboriginal Health Initiative
In October, 2008, the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University began a project supported by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs’ Secretariat entitled Making Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine a Better Place for Aboriginal Students
. The intent of the initiative, as stated in the proposal, is to make the Faculty of Medicine more inclusionary for students from the various First Nations/Inuit/ Metis (FN/I/M) communities, predominantly within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The project focuses on two key areas:
1. Bridging programs, services and programs designed to recruit more Aboriginal students into the Faculty of Medicine;
2. Heightened cultural sensitivity of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students on issues of Aboriginal health and health care services in both undergraduate medical courses and graduate programs.
An Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from the various Aboriginal communities throughout the province, members of the Faculty of Medicine, and current medical students, oversees the project. The communities from the island of Newfoundland represented on this committee are: the Miawpukek First Nation and the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation; and from Labrador, the Innu Nation, the Government of Nunatsiavut, and NunatuKuvut.
Since April 1, 2010 the initiative, now identified as the Aboriginal Health Initiative (AHI), is being funded entirely by the Faculty of Medicine.
An important component of the Aboriginal Health Initiative is the Aboriginal Admissions Program
, the reservation of two seats within the faculty specifically designated for students of Aboriginal ancestry within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.