Dr. Sean Wachtel is taking on for out-going Dr. Michael Patterson as chief public well being officer of Nunavut. Wachtel stated he needs to proceed tackling systemic racism in well being care and is impressed by the onerous work and efforts of the territory’s well being workers. (Picture courtesy of First Nations Well being Authority)
Dr. Sean Wachtel says regardless of operational challenges, he’s impressed by onerous work of well being workers in Nunavut
Now that he’s the chief public well being officer of Nunavut, Dr. Sean Wachtel stated he’ll proceed working to deal with systemic racism in well being care.
“As a affected person, we want to have the ability to method our supplier and be heard,” he stated in an interview.
To try this, Wachtel needs remedy plans for well being care within the territory to be culturally acceptable.
Whereas initiatives which have began in areas like Nunavut — resembling applications for retraining medical workers — are new, they’re the kind he needs to see applied “to assist suppliers give higher care to Indigenous populations all around the nation and notably in Nunavut.”
Wachtel changed Dr. Michael Patterson because the territory’s chief public well being officer final month.
After holding clinics in Iqaluit and the Kivalliq in 2019 and developing periodically once more since April this yr, Wachtel stated he was drawn to the spirit of the individuals in Nunavut, in addition to the bodily fantastic thing about the place.
“So I used to be delighted to be afforded the chance to affix the workforce,” he stated.
Earlier than changing Patterson, Wachtel was senior medical director for Aboriginal Well being and medical well being officer for the First Nations Well being Authority in B.C.
He did his education on the College of Liverpool in the UK and was a doctor with the British Royal Air Drive from 2004 till 2009, when he immigrated to Canada.
As soon as right here, Wachtel stated, he felt drawn to working with Indigenous individuals after studying in regards to the nation’s historical past of colonization and its affect on well being care.
“Typically, I believe individuals have an innate sense of what’s simply and want to right [what is unjust],” he stated, mentioning the anti-racism motion and the Reality and Reconciliation Fee of Canada.
“I felt a lot drawn to that space of labor.”
As a part of that, Wachtel has specialised in public well being since shifting to Canada.
He stated systemic racism in Canada’s supply of well being care is by design. By having a system that was created for and by the individuals who colonized the nation, it doesn’t acknowledge the wants of Indigenous individuals.
For Nunavut particularly, meaning addressing a number of challenges, together with the supply of well being care to a vastly spread-out inhabitants.
“That’s the meat and potatoes of the issue,” Wachtel stated.
One other factor that drew him to Nunavut was the way in which the territory’s health-care employees function despite the challenges.
“The dedication and dedication of the workers in Nunavut is second to none, and I discover it very inspiring to work with such hardworking individuals,” he stated.
Wachtel stated within the short-term, his targets are to make use of his public well being experience to offer recommendation to the territorial authorities on health-care choices.
Within the medium or long-term, he’ll go onto federal and territorial tables and advocate to get the assets wanted for Nunavut’s inhabitants.
That type of work is normally achieved by reviewing scientific proof, then taking that info and making an argument utilizing the context of suggestions from the reality and reconciliation report, he stated.
Whereas there are challenges forward in enhancing Nunavut’s well being care, Wachtel stated he’s honoured and privileged to take up his new place.
“I hope that individuals discover me approachable and respectful of their factors of view, and that’s my [way of operating] that I’ll carry ahead,” he stated.