July 16, 2009

Dr. Catherine Cook Appointed As New Aboriginal Health Advisor On H1N1 Issues

The province has appointed an Aboriginal health advisor on H1N1 flu issues to work with First Nations communities, leadership organizations and the federal government to further strengthen communication, co-ordination and response to H1N1 influenza, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"I'm pleased to appoint Dr. Catherine Cook to this new role, in which she will build on her work with First Nations communities to listen and address the H1N1 concerns of chiefs, councils and community members," said Oswald. "This information will help direct the provincial response to H1N1 and support our work with First Nation and federal governments."

Cook will work with First Nations organizations to strengthen H1N1 surveillance and communication structures to help communities monitor and respond to the disease.

"Dr. Cook brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. First Nations have been relying on her help since the beginning of the outbreak and we're glad to hear the province is making her role official," said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans.

"This is a disease that in Manitoba appears to have disproportionately affected First Nations communities," Cook said. "And like the disease itself, the issues surrounding the provision of treatment and resources, both medical and human, are more complex in remote communities.

"This position will help ensure that we are aware of all the issues and work in a more co-ordinated way to address them."

Oswald credited the leadership of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority for proposing Cook take on the role of H1N1 advisor. Cook is currently executive director of the WRHA's Aboriginal Health Programs.

About Dr. Catherine Cook

Dr. Catherine L. Cook is Métis and practices as a family physician. After several years of clinical practice in northern First Nations communities, Cook worked with the J. A. Hildes Northern Medical Unit and First Nations and Inuit Health (FNIH). She has provided service as a regional medical officer of health to the NOR-MAN and Winnipeg regional health authorities. Cook is currently the executive director of Aboriginal Health Programs at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, where she is responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of the Aboriginal Health Strategy. She has maintained her appointment with the University of Manitoba's faculty of medicine and is the co-director for the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research and the director for the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education at the university, where she is developing a resource centre for Aboriginal students to meet their academic, professional development and social support needs.

More Information

Click here for information on H1N1 Influenza A.

Click here for information on Aboriginal Health Services in the Winnipeg health region.

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