qathet Division of Family Practice

News - Tuesday, August 9, 2022


POWELL RIVER – Today, the Powell River Division of Family Practice officially changed its name to qathet Division of Family Practice. The Tla’amin Nation leadership supports the use of the word qathet, which means “working together” and is pronounced “KA-thet.” The name change reflects the division’s commitment to reconciliation and acknowledgment of Indigenous-specific racism in the health care system.

“It’s the doctor’s job to diagnose illness and help us to stay well,” said Losa Luaifoa, Tla’amin executive councillor. “Changing the name of the local division of family practice is an action that recognizes that the legacy of colonialism is a sickness that must be acknowledged and removed. We raise our hands to the division for their leadership and contributions to a place where we can all thrive together.”

The division began exploring a name change in 2017 as part of a process to bring attention to reconciliation and the reality of poor health outcomes for Indigenous peoples in Canada, in part due to racism in the health care system. The division membership voted on the name change on June 8, 2022, and were overwhelmingly in favour.

“Changing the name of our division is a small but significant step along the path of truth and reconciliation,” said Dr. David May, board chair and physician lead for the qathet Division of Family Practice. “It gets us closer to genuine community collaboration.”

The qathet Regional District changed its name in 2018, and the Tla’amin Nation gifted them the word ‘qathet’ to reflect the close ties between the Nation and the regional district and their mutual commitment to reconciliation. qathet Division of Family Practice members practice throughout the qathet Regional District, including at the recently renamed qathet General Hospital.

“This is the first division of family practice in British Columbia to have a name change based on reconciliation,” said Guy Chartier, the division’s executive director. “We’re hopeful that our journey becomes a catalyst for other conversations across the province. The future of our healthcare will be shaped by the kind of relationships we build today.”

Israel Wood Powell, for whom Powell River is named, was B.C.’s first superintendent for Indian affairs from 1872 through 1889, and a proponent of many harmful colonial policies including residential schools and removing Indigenous children from their families, as well as banning the potlatch and Indigenous languages.

From left to right: Guy Chartier, Executive Director, qathet Division of Family Practice; Marlane Christensen, Health Director, Tla'amin Health; Dr. David May, Board Chair and Physician Lead, qathet Division of Family Practice. Photo taken at the Tla'amin Health Centre.

qDoFP name change timeline:

2017

The division’s board is diversified, opening the door for non-physicians to join as community directors.

2018

Dr. Evan Adams, a member of the Tla’amin Nation, is appointed to the division’s board as a community director.

2019

Doctors of BC and the First Nations Health Authority sign the Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Indigenous people in BC.

2019-2020

The division’s board engages in conversations on the organization’s role in cultural safety and humility.

2020

The division’s board of directors endorses its Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Humility and Safety.

2020-21

Division board members and staff complete San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, education and awareness for members.

2021

The division invites Tla’amin Council members to discuss reconciliation at a division board meeting.

2021

The Tla’amin Council supports the name “qathet” for the division.

2022

The division hosts information sessions for members.

2022

The division’s members vote on name change (June 8).

 

About Tla’amin Nation

The Tla’amin Nation is a modern, forward-thinking First Nation Government at an exciting point in its history. In April 2016, the community became self-governing through the Modern Treaty Process. The Tla’amin community resides in the qathet Regional District, along Highway 101. The Tla’amin Nation has a rich heritage that stretches back since time immemorial and is guided by its taow (teachings) enshrined in its Constitution and Governance Structure.

About qathet Division of Family Practice

The qathet Division of Family Practice is a community-based group of family physicians working together to improve patient care. The division works collaboratively with the community and health care partners to increase access to primary care and improve professional satisfaction for physicians. The division was founded in 2010. Today, the division’s membership includes 38 family physician members, 13 specialists, and three nurse practitioners.

The Divisions of Family Practice are funded by the General Practice Service Committee (GPSC), which is a partnership of the BC Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC.