Head of Manitoba's First Nations COVID-19 response earns prestigious award

·3 min read

An Indigenous doctor who has spent the last two-and-a-half years helping families and communities to navigate and better understand the COVID-19 pandemic has been honoured with a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence.

In a media release, the University of Manitoba (UM) said that Dr. Marcia Anderson is the winner of the 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration.

The award, which was first handed out in 1987, recognizes the “exceptional achievement of a person who has shown distinctive leadership in public administration in Manitoba, or who has made a significant contribution in the field of public administration in the province.”

Anderson is the vice-dean of Indigenous health, social justice and anti-racism at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and serves as the public health lead for the First Nations pandemic response coordination team.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first began in Manitoba in the spring of 2020, she has worked to get information about COVID and the pandemic out to First Nations people and communities.

“I’m honoured to receive this award,” Anderson said. “Since the time deputy minister Michelle Dubik reached out and asked for consent to nominate me, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the course of the pandemic.

“The work that we were able to do in support of First Nation communities, urban Indigenous communities, and diverse Black and racialized communities required so many people to share leadership, vision, commitment and love.

“People brought the best of their knowledge, experience and skills to do the best we could to close gaps in access and outcomes. That approach to serving our communities was what made the biggest difference in our pandemic response.”

Anderson, a Cree-Anishinaabe physician, is a 2002 UM MD graduate, and in their release UM praised the work she has done to help families and communities during the pandemic.

“Dr. Anderson is highly deserving of recognition for her sustained leadership in advancing Indigenous health in the province, and for her unrelenting advocacy for the health care of Black, Indigenous and other people of colour during the COVID-19 pandemic,”Dr. Brian Postl, the dean of the Max Rady College of Medicine, and dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences said.

UM also praised Anderson for the work she has done at the university to help Indigenous students to succeed and to have access to opportunities.

“Anderson’s anti-colonial and anti-racism work at Ongomiizwin, the Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, addresses the inequities and barriers Indigenous students may face in post-secondary institutions,” UM said.

“Her work reflects her commitment to Indigenous learners, and her passion for closing the health gaps experienced by Indigenous peoples.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun

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