The National Gathering for Graduate Students
The DUDES Club team was invited to present at the National Gathering for Graduate Students, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health, hosted by CIHR. The conference is hosted annually, and typically kept small and specific, so our team felt quite honoured to have been invited to present. Any opportunity to share the DUDES Club message is greatly appreciated. This gathering, in particular, was very valuable because we had the opportunity to talk to future health care professionals – people who hold the potential to make a large difference in indigenous peoples’ daily lives.
We arrived the evening of the 13th to catch the end of the award ceremony and dinner. It was a great networking opportunity, and our team was happy to see familiar and unfamiliar faces alike. We made some good connections that evening, in preparation for the following day.
The next day started at 7:30, with breakfast, then several sessions followed by a health break. The sessions were very interesting, all focusing on indigenous peoples health; for example, the results of one study indicated that if indigenous youths and teens are connected to their culture, they are less likely to use or abuse substances. Our presentation was scheduled to start in the late morning. Having been allotted 75 minutes of time, we were able to go through our PowerPoint, share our documentary, and have time for questions. The presentation was a huge success, and it sparked a lot of conversation afterwards. The networking dinner that evening provided many connections regarding our work with the DUDES. It was a great day!
We spent one extra day in Ottawa beyond the conference to attend some meetings with local indigenous groups. We were able to meet with members of Wabano to discuss potential partnering for an event coming up in September. In the afternoon we met with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, to share our documentary and some of our findings. This was another very successful meeting – FNIHB agreed to collaborate during the September event as well.
Altogether, this trip to Ottawa was incredibly successful. Our message was well-received by a room of interested future health care providers, and we were able to connect with some important individuals regarding policy.
(This phrase was created by our Musqueam Elder, Henry Charles. It translates to “Cool Man”, which we say after every meeting to mean “The DUDES” because we are cool men).