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Debwewin: Exploring Stories of Dietitians Working in Indigenous Communities

Date: February 11th, 2021

This webinar recording is offered at no cost, to support our advocacy efforts and to raise awareness about healthy public policy.

This webinar explores the concept of “culturally safe care” in Indigenous communities in Canada, from the perspective of dietitians. Perspectives are shared on current challenges and experiences working within Indigenous communities, and how to approach barriers to deliver the best care possible to your clients.

We also uncover persisting knowledge translation gaps within the dietetic profession, education and training, as it relates to addressing the call to change on how health care is provided. This presentation ends with an activity that will allow you to reflect upon your own perspectives and practice. 

Debwewin is the Anishnaabemowin word and teaching for ‘Truth’.


Jessica Oickle

Registered Dietitian at Bigstone Health Commission

Kwe’ (Greetings), I am from the Mi’kmaw territory of L’sitkuk, Bear River First Nation located in Nova Scotia. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), and was fortunate enough to complete an honours research thesis in nutrition. My honours thesis assessed diet quality, food insecurity, and demographic information of mothers who used the food bank in Charlottetown, PEI. Upon graduating in 2014, I began a Masters of Applied Health Services Research. My master’s thesis examines the bi-directional association between food insecurity and mental health, and the common predictors of these outcomes. During my masters I applied to the Graduate Dietetic Internship program with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, I was beyond thrilled to be accepted and completed the internship July of 2017. Prior to working with Bigstone Health Commission, I was a research assistant at the Health Centered Research Clinic at UPEI, examining the effects of diet on inflammation within the body.

Joby Quiambao

Registered Dietitian at Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services

Joby Quiambao is a Canadian-Filipina treaty person, under the Robinson-Huron Treaty, who acknowledges and is grateful for her privilege to work as a dietitian practicing in community and Indigenous health in Northern Ontario. She currently works as a dietitian at Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services, supporting four First Nation communities along the North Shore. Joby received her education from Western University and completed her internship at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). During her internship year, she presented on her research titled ‘Co-creating space for Indigenous ways of knowing and practice’ (2018). This helped inform dietitians on current knowledge translation gaps among RDs providing care to Indigenous communities and the important practice of acknowledging such gaps by creating space to address the colonial context deeply rooted in the dietetics education, training and profession. Joby continues to collaborate and provide consultation work with NOSM contributing to diversifying, and decolonizing work on current medical and dietetics training and education. 

Joby will be sharing her extensive experiences and reflections working alongside Indigenous communities and partners, and how this has changed her both personally and professionally. 

Melissa Payne

Registered Dietitian at Kenora Chiefs Advisory

Melissa completed her undergrad at the University of Manitoba and her internship with Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program. After graduating, Melissa knew she wanted to return to her hometown of Kenora, Ontario. However, there were no available dietitian positions in Kenora. Melissa was determined to create a dietitian position for herself. She contacted organizations in Kenora to state how valuable a dietitian could be, and how important the role is in contributing to the health and well-being of others. While waiting for a dietitian position to become available she taught at Manidoo Baawaatig Seven Generations Education Institute. This school aims to provide culturally enriched quality education to everyone. She soon received a call back from Ogimaawabiitong Kenora Chiefs Advisory. Kenora Chiefs Advisory is committed to providing culturally appropriate health and social services which address the needs and enhance the well being of their community members. Melissa is now working with the eleven affiliated Indigenous communities surrounding Kenora.

Her diverse portfolio focuses on helping communities organize feasts and ceremonies, food security, diabetes, healthy lifestyle education, and traditional food projects.

One of the best aspects about her current position is practicing traditional protocols and learning from the elders and fellow co-workers. She also facilitates classes with Confederation College. She enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and their three waabooz (rabbits). 


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