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Moving Forward: Dr. Gary Tithecott

On October 4, the Doctor of Medicine Program, in collaboration with Dentistry and faculty partner, Western Law, will be hosting Mr. Ry Moran, Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba.

During the session, we begin a journey of improving students’ awareness of the trauma incurred by Indigenous peoples as a result of unacceptable decision making by leaders and Canadians throughout generations.

Students at Schulich Medicine’s London and Windsor campuses will hear from Mr. Moran, take part in a Q&A session and participate in a Blanket Exercise.

This is only a small step forward in a broader process we aim to implement collaboratively. It will be a long journey as we move forward through education, discussion, reflection and advocacy for a better society where all are equal – always.

For too long we have turned away from decisions impacting Indigenous peoples.  It is only in the past one to two years that we as a society have taken meaningful steps for change that improves the health and lives of Indigenous people.

The former Governor General, David Johnston, wrote an op-ed in the Globe and Mail which shared a vision of how Canada can lead into the next decade.

In his masterful work, Johnston advises on how we can improve through ‘learning and trust’—and that reconciliation is a process that aligns with his strategic vision. As an educational institution, we should heed the advice of a leading national educator.

The learning needed for all of us on the journey of reconciliation is large and understanding is critical. Having heard Ry Moran speak earlier this year, I grew in understanding more through one hour of his powerful key note than everything I had read during the previous 18 months. As a School, we are certain that all who attend the October 4 session with him will be moved to explore more following his presentation.

Trust is earned and must be built and retained each day. For too long, we have let the bonds of trust erode with Indigenous colleagues. Time and demonstrable actions with outcomes will help establish this key process.

By showing sincerity in understanding, committing to not repeating the events of the past century, supporting all in their pain and working to address the unacceptable inequities of today, we as a society can start to move forward. These actions will start rebuilding trust – and the session will help to mobilize this initiative.

As a School, we are just beginning and will move to use curricular change and revision to ensure the next generation of physicians are well on their way through new knowledge and use of their skills to enable trust in building a better future for and with Indigenous peoples.

On October 4, we believe each of you will leave feeling humbled and better versed on how to approach the journey of reconciliation in your personal and professional lives. I thank all who organized this event for our School and University and Ry Moran for taking time to share with us.

- Dr. Gary Tithecott

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education

Link to event