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This article was originally published in the
Journal of Aboriginal Management. It has been reproduced with permission.
The First Nation Health Managers Association (FNHMA)’s Marion Crowe,CFNHM, CAFM, recently discussed how her organization is working with MNP to instill Indigenous culture and values within it’s governance and policy structure in an article for the
Journal of Aboriginal Management. Speaking from her experience, she covers both the motivation and methodology behind the transition.
The First Nation Health Managers Association (FNHMA) has been privileged to deliver the First Nations Health Managers certification program and professional development workshops to health leaders across Canada. We have 139 members who carry the Certified First Nations Health Manager Designation and provided professional development opportunities for approximately 300 individuals in 2017. But we also see the need and opportunity to do more. We aim to effectively expand our organization and services to deliver more courses and certification opportunities to increase our impact moving forward.
However, we understand it’s not enough to simply grow – we also need to grow stronger. And that’s why we’ve partnered with MNP to conduct a critical review of our current administration, governance and policies. We want to know what’s working, what needs to change and how we can deliver the most impactful services and certification programs for our health managers and community stakeholders.
We pride the FNHMA as being an organization which honours ancestral knowledge and champions the values of our communities. We recognize our community health leaders as stewards who maintain and uphold inherent ways of knowing. While balancing management principles to delivery quality health programs and services, we believe in a holistic mindset of health.
So, as we grow, we need to be confident our practice is not only congruent with our mission and beliefs – but that our organization embodies values-based decision making.
These qualities can be found sprinkled across our communities, so we need to ensure they’re equally vibrant and possible for our own FNHMA family. This offers an opportunity to look inward and incorporate the teachings and wise practices within our own workplace culture. Whatever shape our new administrative and governance structure ultimately takes, we want to lead by example. That means building a healthy foundation, informed by a range of holistic supports and opportunities which encourage our team to bring their best selves to work every day.
Supporting Holistic Wellness – Whether enabling our team members to seek guidance from an Elder or Traditional Healer, take part in a cultural ceremony such as a sweat or medicine camp – we are committed to championing the same holistic approach to wellness within our organization as our community health leaders do in the field.
Supporting Non-Traditional Professional Development – We believe it is important that our team members pursue opportunities which will make them more effective in their roles. However, we need not limit this to improving business knowledge. Should a member of our family want to learn their ancestral language, we intend to support and enable similar means of ‘non-traditional’ professional development.
Providing Time – We recognize not only the possibility, but a responsibility as an employer to provide our employees with the time and support they need to participate in the activities which they feel are important to maintain and improve their cultural wellbeing.
We are a teaching organization. Our job is to not only provide exceptional instruction, but also practice what is represented in our program through the First Nations Health Managers Competency Framework. We believe this process of incorporating our philosophies and traditional knowledge within our own workplace culture offers an opportunity to really live our values.
We are optimistic our FNHMA family will not only take advantage of these holistic wellness opportunities but thrive from them as well – contributing to job performance, deeper connections to our communities and overall outcomes for our community health leaders and stakeholders. Our hope is that other mainstream organizations might also recognize the benefits and incorporate these practices within their own governance structure to further the bigger goal of global reconciliation.
A member of the Piapot First Nation in Saskatchewan, Marion Crowe, CFNHM, CAFM is the Executive Director of the First Nations Health Managers Association. She can be reached at 613.599.6070 or
Based out of Calgary, Will Fong, PMP, CMC, is a Business Advisor with MNP’s Consulting Services team. He can be reached at 403.263.3385 or
Client Groups:Indigenous Services
Related Topics:Corporate Governance; Change Management; Management
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