A one-of-a-kind partnership between key stakeholders was announced today to try and tackle the health and social challenges of the city and surrounding areas.
The creation of the Intergovernmental Health Table is a proactive step in bringing together invested partners to look at key issues effecting members of the Blood Tribe and Lethbridge communities. Mayor, Blaine Hyggen, says he's passionate about taking a step forward in addressing the health and social challenges that arise for both communities.
"One area I often hear from residents on is, how are we working with local Indigenous partners to tackle the health and social issues some experience in the city," says Hyggen. "The creation of this health table allows us to have open conversations and bring matters of importance to the people and organizations that can make change happen."
Members of the Intergovernmental Health Table include:
- Mayor, Blaine Hyggen – Co-Chair
- Blood Tribe Department of Health (BTDH) Vice Chairperson, Charles Weaselhead – Co-Chair
- Deputy Premier, Minister of Infrastructure and MLA of Lethbridge East, Nathan Neudorf, Vice Chair
- Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction
- Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services
The Intergovernmental Health Table will meet on a regular basis to review matters of relevant importance to each community with a solid understanding of respect, inclusion and collaboration.
"On behalf of the Blood Tribe Dept. of Health Inc. we are honored to enter into this partnership! We are very excited that we are creating a stronger tomorrow for our Nation in regards to our Quality of Life. This partnership aligns with our Vision here at Blood Tribe Department of Health Inc. in ensuring we deliver accredited high quality health services to our Members. We believe this partnership will allow us to continue to be supportive and innovative in providing the most appropriate ways of serving our members based on our Blackfoot Ways of Healing."
- Derrick Fox, BTDH Inc. CEO
"I look forward to continuing the conversation at this historic health table, to share and discuss the complex and diverse challenges in First Nations health and the empowerment to develop and guide our ways of well-being through Blackfoot Ways of Knowing. The need for profound improvement and closing the gap in First Nations health is well known. The statistics are staggering. That is why this table is very important, so that we can get input and feedback on policy; increase communications and participation on First Nations Health issues. We have always put great importance on connecting with government and health professionals to ensure effective communications and collaboration for the purpose of strategizing and promoting understanding for better health outcomes, including some of the factors that affect the health of our peoples, such as the crises in addictions, housing and socio-economic factors. This Health Table will certainly help this conversation to explore and engage."
- Charles Weaselhead, BTDH Inc. Board of Directors Co-Chair
The aim of the Intergovernmental Health Table is to better the health and wellbeing of members of the Blood Tribe and Lethbridge communities.
"Social challenges such as homelessness, trauma and addiction are issues that impact many individuals, families and even future generations. As someone who worked in non-profit for many years, I am optimistic that by working together we will make positive change in addressing these challenges in Lethbridge and the surrounding area. As we begin to see success by collaborating our efforts, a strong example will be set that can be followed by other municipalities in Alberta and throughout the nation to address these complex social and health challenges."
- Jeremy Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services
"Bringing together municipal, provincial and Indigenous leadership is an important step towards addressing addiction, mental health and other social issues effecting residents of Lethbridge and members of the Blood Tribe. I look forward to working collaboratively to develop solutions that work locally, and will apply more broadly as part of Alberta's recovery-oriented system of care."
- Nicholas Milliken, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction
The Intergovernmental Health Table stems from a resolution at Lethbridge City Council meeting on July 26 this year which outlined the creation of a local community task force.
The Official Business Resolution also directed that City Council write a letter to the Ministries of Seniors, Community and Social Services and Mental Health and Addictions requesting the formation of a provincial/City of Lethbridge working group to allow for collaboration on medium- and long-term housing and homelessness solutions that will ultimately address encampments issues.